ONS immigration figures: Surge in EU citizens moving to the UK

Dramatic increase in number of eastern Europeans registering for National Insurance numbers

More than 200,000 people moved to Britain from the European Union last year, up 22 per cent on 2012, according to official figures.

More than 200,000 people moved to Britain from the European Union last year, up 22 per cent on 2012, according to official figures.

There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of Eastern Europeans registering for National Insurance numbers, a sign that more are finding legal work and paying taxes. The most significant rise was amongst Romanian workers, with 47,000 registering in the year to March 2014, more than double the previous year.

More than 603,000 migrants from across the world registered to work legally in 2013, 7 per cent more than in the previous year.

Overall migration numbers showed no statistically significant change, with 526,000 people moving to the UK in the year ending December 2013, up from 498,000 the previous year.

Net migration - the difference between the numbers leaving and arriving in Britain - rose to 212,000, from 177,000 in 2012. The figure means David Cameron’s target of bringing net migration below 100,000 by the general election in 2015 is looking even more distant.

The increase was partly because fewer people left the UK last year, with 314,000 people emigrating in 2013, compared to 321,000 in the previous year.

Asylum applications were up 5 per cent in the year to March 2014, with more than 23,000 seeking refuge in Britain. The increase was driven by arrivals from Eritrea, Syria and Albania, though was still below the 2002 peak of 84,000.

Despite scaremongering from Ukip that “millions” of Bulgarians and Romanians were after British jobs, only 19,000 more people from those countries registered to work in Britain in the first four months of this year when compared to the same period in 2013. Some of those may have been working in the UK already without documentation.

In total 23,000 people from Romania and Bulgaria moved to the UK last year, up from 9,000 in 2012.

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