IMMIGRATION into the UK is running at more than half a million a year, with EU migration fuelling the population growth.
Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics prove that the Government is failing in its pledge to bring immigration down to the “tens of thousands” with more than 500 people per day flocking to our shores.
The numbers are the equivalent of the population of Manchester coming to the UK, which opponents say puts intolerable strain on schools, hospitals and services.
Net migration – the number of people coming to the UK minus the number of people leaving the country – has now risen for the first time in two years in a move
Despite UK unemployment running at 2.49million, work was the most common reason for people heading to the UK with the ONS saying that “there was a statistically significant increase in EU15 citizens arriving for work-related reasons.”
Figures released this morning show that in the year to June 2013, 503,000 people came to Britain to settle, with 320,000 leaving. Net migration is now running at 182,000, despite non EU immigration being significantly down.
Yesterday, the Daily Express delivered a petition with 150,000 signatures to Downing Street asking the Government to maintain labour controls on Bulgarians and Romanians which are due to expire on December 31.
There are fears immigration will continue to escalate once 29 million more EU citizens have the right to work in the UK.
Today Ukip leader Nigel Farage branded the Government’s approach to bringing migration under control a “complete failure”.
He said: “The fact that we still have net migration going up, EU migration going up and immigration into the UK still running at over half a million people per year is a damning indictment of this Government’s failed approach to immigration.
“This is before they plan to open the doors to Bulgaria and Romania next year.
“If the Government were serious about bringing immigration into the UK under control, they would not allow total unrestricted access from Bulgaria and Romania from January 1 next year.”
The Prime Minister is facing a Tory backbench rebellion as some 45 Conservative MPs have signed up to a Commons motion calling for controls on Romanian and Bulgarian access to the UK to be extended until the end of 2018.
Last night the Mayor of London Boris Johnson called for the “madness” of the current immigration system to be sorted out.
Delivering the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture at the Centre for Policy Studies, London, he said: “At the moment we are claiming to have capped immigration by having a 60 per cent reduction in New Zealanders, when we can do nothing to stop the entire population of Transylvania – charming though most of them may be – from trying to pitch camp at Marble Arch.”
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said despite the rise in net migration, immigration has fallen from 517,000 in 2011/12 to 503,000 the following year. While immigration is down by 14,000 people fewer British citizens have left which is driving the population increase.
Mr Harper said: “We have tightened immigration routes where abuse was rife, but are still encouraging the brightest and best to come here to study and work.
“Net migration has fallen by nearly a third since its peak in 2010 and across government we are working hard to bring it down further.”
David Hanson, Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister, said Home Secretary Theresa May and Prime Minister David Cameron “are failing to meet their own target” on migration.
He said: “They promised “no ifs, no buts” that they would meet their target of net migration in the tens of thousands by the election. Instead net migration is going up and it’s higher this year than twelve months ago.
“These figures expose the massive gap between the rhetoric and the reality of Tory immigration policy. Theresa May has boasted repeatedly that net migration was falling and her target would be met. Now those hollow claims have been completely exposed.
He added: “The latest figures also show the number of people coming to study in Britain has dropped – despite the fact that they bring billions into our Universities, colleges and economy. At the same time the number of people coming to work has gone up by 30,000.”
The figures from the ONS show that work is now the main reason for people coming to the UK with some 202,000 people coming specifically to work. The statistics from the ONS show that 183,000 EU citizens immigrated to the UK, fuelled by the prolonged economic crisis within the eurozone.
There was a dramatic rise from the number of people coming from the so-called EU15 nations, which includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Today, Mrs May said there is “no consensus” with coalition partners Liberal Democrat partners to deliver the Prime Minister’s plans to reform to free labour market movement across the EU.
She said the Government is doing “everything we can – with great success – to reduce and control immigration from outside the European Union”.
Writing for website Politics Home, Ms May said: “In 2015, the people will have a choice – because only the Conservative Party will be prepared to stand up for Britain in Europe, reform free movement, and seek to regain control of Britain’s immigration system.”
Mrs May insisted the Government’s policies were working in areas where it has the power to control net migration – that is immigration from outside the EU.
The Home Secretary said: “We have restricted economic migration from outside the EU, and economic immigration is down.
“We have tightened the rules for family visas, and family immigration is down – by more than one fifth.
“We have ended the industrial-scale abuse of the student visa system we saw under the last government, closed down hundreds of bogus colleges, and student immigration is down – by almost a third.”
See on www.express.co.uk