Net immigration into Britain falls 'significantly'

 

Net migration into Britain has fallen by a third, according to fresh figures released today as the number of immigrants arriving in the country dropped "significantly".

A net flow of 163,000 migrants came to the UK in the year to June 2012, down from 247,000 in the previous year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The decline was driven by a drop in the number of immigrants coming to Britain, which fell from 589,000 to 515,000, while the number of migrants leaving the country rose from 342,000 to

Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May want to reduce net migration from non-EU countries to less than 100,000 before next election in 2015.

There was a "significant" decrease in the number of immigrants arriving from New Commonwealth countries, which includes African countries such as Botswana, Kenya and Malawi and Indian subcontinent countries such as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan,

Some 117,000 immigrants from New Commonwealth countries arrived in the UK in the year to June, down 30% or 51,000 from 168,000 in the previous year.

A total of 62,000 immigrants arrived from countries which joined the EU in 2004, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania, down 27% or 24,000 from the previous year.

The most common reason given for migrating to Britain remains study, the ONS said, with 197,000 foreign students arriving in the period, down 17% or 42,000 from 239,000 in the previous year.

The number of visas issued fell 10% or 57,106 to 507,701 in the year ending December 2012 - the lowest 12-monthly total since comparable data was first published in 2005.

Within the figures, this included 209,804 visas issued for the purpose of study, a fall of 20%.

And 173,000 people migrated to the UK for work, which was down 10% from 194,000 in the previous year.

The figures come as the Government toughens its stance on immigration with a range of new measures as it aims to bring down net migration to the tens of thousands.

UK Border Agency officials will conduct interviews with more than 100,000 student visa applicants from "high-risk" countries outside the EU to crack down on bogus students.

And a "genuine entrepreneur" test has been introduced to tackle the rising number of foreign nationals attempting to enter Britain by fudging their bank accounts and setting up fake businesses.

Sponsored visa applications rose 3% in the university sector, but fell 62%, 69% and 14% for further education, English language schools and independent schools respectively.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: "Our tough reforms are having an impact in all the right places - we have tightened the routes where abuse was rife and overall numbers are down as a result.

"But sponsored student visa applications for our world-class university sector are up and the numbers of skilled people being sponsored by UK employers in sectors such as IT and science have also increased.

"We will continue to work hard to bring net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament and to create a selective immigration system that works in our national interest."

Mr Cameron's official spokesman insisted today that the Government was attempting to attract overseas students as well as reducing immigration.

He said the Government had cracked down on "bogus colleges" but the Prime Minister's visit to India last week showed he was taking action to promote British universities abroad.

At a regular Westminster briefing, he said: "There is not an either/or situation here. You can target both and that is exactly what the Government is doing."

Asked if the PM was disappointed that overseas student figures had dropped since the crackdown, he replied: "He wants the UK university sector to continue to thrive."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
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?