Migrations figures remain steady

A passport being checked at an airport Ministers have pledged to cut annual net migration to tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament.

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Net migration to Britain remained steady at 250,000 in the year to last June, according to figures released on Thursday.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed an increase from 235,000 in June 2010 but a fall from 255,000 in September 2010.

The government has promised to cut net migration by 2015.

Long-term immigration of New Commonwealth citizens reached 170,000, two-thirds of whom came to study.

The number of people leaving the UK has come down from a peak of 427,000 in 2008 to 343,000.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "Our reforms are starting to take effect. Home Office figures from the second half of last year show a significant decrease in the number of student and work visas issued, an early indicator for the long term direction of net migration.


These latest figures show the scale of the challenge the government faces to meet its own target on bringing net migration down to tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament.

The number of people arriving has barely changed since the General Election, bobbling along at just under 600,000 a year, one sixth of them returning Brits.

The government's target is the balance between these arrivals and the numbers who emigrate. But the number of people leaving remains stubbornly unchanged.

Ministers can't stop the movement of EU citizens - but they can target the vast number of students from outside Europe.

They hope a cut in student visas will affect immigration rates.

But if the government wants to hit its target, it will probably need some movement on emigration too. And that remains very uncertain.

"Net migration remains too high, but is now steady, having fallen from a recent peak in the year to September 2010.

"This government remains committed to bringing net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands over the course of the Parliament."

The Home Office said the figures cover just one year of the coalition government and before the biggest changes to immigration had been brought in.

Asylum applications rose 11% to 19,804, compared with 17,916 in 2010, according to separate figures from the Home Office.

The figures for every quarter last year were higher than 12 months earlier, due to an increasing number of applications from Libya, Iran and Pakistan.

Meanwhile the number of asylum seekers removed or departing voluntarily from the UK fell 13% to 52,526, from 60,244 during 2010.

Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: "These figures are disappointing.

"They show that the immigration super tanker has been brought to a halt but massive efforts by the government will be essential if their manifesto promise is to be kept. For example, the student visa system, which admits half a million non-EU students a year, needs a much more effective means of testing whether the applicants are genuine and intend to return home."

Earlier this week Home Secretary Theresa May said the UK Border Agency would be split in two following revelations that hundreds of thousands of people were let into the country without appropriate checks.

She told MPs the UK Border Force would become a separate law-enforcement body with its own distinctive "ethos".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    I'm a Australian living / working in London on a 5 year work visa. The visa / legals cost me just over £6k & I had to jump through hoops to get it. I pay circa £15k in taxes / NI each year & have no access to public funds of any sort. I here because I want to be here & yes I'm paying for the privilege.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    For me immigration some of the people coming over have enhanced our country with what they have brought to us. Plus they do the jobs that the feckless lazy boned people of this country point blank refuse to do. Such as cleaning. However, the flip side of this is now the country has become too full and surely our doors need to close now. Plus a proportion are being expolited by the unscrupilous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    I have no problem with immigration, but put illegal in front of it...

    All illegal immigrants should not be given anything but a one way ticket home, where ever they come from. If that can’t be ascertained then it should be the last safe country that passed through (most likely France).

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    To those complaining about finances and services:

    This country couldn't without immigration. In the "good old days" you had the empire to pay for things. Now you have high-flying immigrants paying your taxes and low-income ones to do your dirty work cheaply.

    Don't think that if you stop immigration you'll have more jobs for British either - jobs will just leave to where the talent is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Net migration will never fall significantly while we have open borders with europe and that will not change until we leave the eu because the odds of them letting us close our borders to free movement within the eu are zero, no politician can promise low immigration till then.


Comments 5 of 6


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