Amid growing pressures within the Government, David Cameron met with the Home Secretary Theresa May in late October to see if the net migration target could gracefully be abandoned.

The conservative election promise was to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands from the hundreds of thousands. However, after more than two years in power, net migration stands at 216,000. The introduction of increasingly confusing and rapidly changing immigration rules has had little impact on the net migration figure and has only angered businesses and educational establishments who have had to navigate themselves around the maze of regulations at much expense.

One solution is to take out students, approximately 240,000 in the year ending December 2011, from the net migration statistics but this has met resistance. The other solution being considered is to change/abandon the net migration target.