250,000 a year still migrate to UK

 

Net immigration to the UK remains above 250,000 a year despite a small fall since the coalition Government took over, according to the latest independent figures.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May want to reduce the number to under 100,000 by the end of the parliament in 2015.

But the Office for National Statistics said estimated net migration to Britain - the number of people arriving for more than 12 months minus those leaving - in the year to September 2011 was 252,000, down only 3,000 on the previous year.

Long-term immigration fell from from 600,000 to 589,000, similar to the level it has been at since 2004, while emigration also dropped slightly from 345,000 to 338,000.

Of those coming to Britain, 250,000 did so to study.

The left-of-centre thinktank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said net migration was effectively unchanged.

Associate director Sarah Mulley said: "The Government has so far made no progress towards meeting its target of reducing net migration to less than 100,000."

The Home Office said new rules had resulted in a big fall in the number of student visas issued to non-Europeans.

Its own research, covering the period to March 2012, showed student visas were down 62% in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2011.

Work and family visas were also down, the Home Office said.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "Our tough new rules are now making a real difference with a record 62% drop in student visas in the first quarter of 2012, and overall falls in work visas, family numbers and people settling.

"As these policies start to bite we are seeing an end to the years when net migration was consistently on the rise.

"But the hangover from the old system of weak controls means it is still too high and we will continue our programme of reforms to bring net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands."

Migration Watch UK said the coalition needed to take "tough measures" to tackle the "unacceptable" figures.

Chairman Sir Andrew Green said: "You cannot expect to repair 15 years of mismanagement in 15 months, but it is worrying news that net migration is still running at a quarter of a million a year.

"There is no sign of any reduction from the huge numbers that developed under Labour."

Downing Street said the Government remained committed to getting net migration down below the 100,000 mark by the time of the next general election in 2015.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said falls in specific categories of migration showed measures taken to tighten the controls were having an effect.

"That is evidence that the changes we are making to the rules are starting to have an impact," the spokesman said.

"It is still our intention to bring the levels of net migration back down to the tens of thousands. Clearly it is going to take some time."

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Mr Cameron was "not being straight" on immigration.

"The Tory-led Government is failing badly on its own immigration target to get net migration down to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament," she said.

"David Cameron said 12 months ago, 'No ifs. No buts. That's a promise we made to the British people.'

"Yet these figures show that promise is being broken and the net migration figure of 252,000 is barely changed in the last two years, even with the net rise in British citizens leaving the UK.

"Migration experts have said the Government does not have the policies to deliver on the target, so the Prime Minister is not being straight with the public on immigration. He should not make promises he can't keep on such an important policy area."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower