Losing Key Data on Migration Due to COVID, Brexit is Part and Parcel of UK’s Problem, Academic Says


The coronavirus pandemic and Brexit has impacted the UK’s ability to collect migration data and detect unauthorised newcomers, including potential extremists, as domestic immigration surveys have been suspended and the country has lost access to multiple EU databases after leaving the bloc.

Oxford University’s Migration Observatory recently acknowledged that the pandemic has seriously affected migration data creating “massive uncertainty” about how many individuals are travelling to and from the UK at the moment. At the same time, in the aftermath of Brexit Britain has lost access to multiple European databases critical for combating transnational crime.

According to Business Insider, the UK is no longer capable of using the Schengen system that Europol exploits to track terrorists. The system was previously accessed over 500 million times a year by the UK, the media outlet noted citing a senior Belgian counter-terror official.

UK Has Lost Access to Tracking Instruments, Databases

COVID and Brexit left UK immigration officials flying blind because the UK has lost access to a number of key databases, says Peter Williams, a senior lecturer with the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies at Liverpool John Moores University.

According to Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, the International Passenger Survey, which the Office for National Statistics (ONS) previously used to examine immigration, emigration, and net migration, was…

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