Net migration to Britain hits record high

Net migration to UK hits 329,000 last year, three times above Cameron's promise

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

UK Border control, Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London June 4, 2014

Updated Aug 28, 2015

The British Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced on Thursday that the net migration to Britain in the year ending in March 2015 was nearly 330,000 people. 

According to the report, the net immigrant number is 329,000 with 636,000 people immigrating to Britain while 307,000 emigrating. This is the highest number thus far, 9,000 more than the previous record in June 2005.

Prime Minister David Cameron, elected for the second time in May this year, had vowed in his election campaign to decrease the immigration number below 100,000 a year.

James Brokenshire, the Immigration Minister from Cameron’s Conservative Party said the numbers are “deeply disappointing." He continued these figures act “as a wake-up call for the EU. Current flows of people across Europe are on a scale we haven't seen since the end of the Second World War."

Cameron aims to curb the welfare benefits for migrants and tighten visa rules to discourage people immigrating to Britain.

Britain as an island, separate from continental Europe doesn’t experience the migrant/refugee crisis other EU countries have been facing recently, but the EU passport provides freedom of movement to its owners.

269,000 EU citizens moved to the UK permanently, which is 59,000 more than the previous number, according to the report. Indian and Chinese are at the top of those given visas from outside Europe.

Cameron promised for a referendum on EU membership in 2017. The raising immigration numbers increased support for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) which wants to split with the EU, with some British voters fearing that immigrants are damaging public services.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said “These figures reflect Borderless Britain and total impotence of the British government,” criticising Cameron’s government.

Many employers, on the other hand, are against strict rules on visa, claiming this will make it harder to find skilled workers.

“Scrabbling around to find measures to hit a bizarre and unachievable migration target is no way to give British businesses the stable environment they need," warned Simon Walker, the director general of the Institute of Directors.




TRTWorld and agencies