Immigration increased the fastest since Britain joined the EU seven years ago.
By Steve Doughty
Immigration rose to near-record levels last year, official figures have revealed.
Net migration increased at the fastest rate since Labour opened Britain’s doors to workers from the Eastern European states that joined the EU seven years ago.
In the year up to September 2010, the figure for net migration – the difference between immigration and emigration – was 242,000, the third highest on record.
Some 586,000 people arrived to live in Britain and 344,000 emigrated.
The net migration of 242,000 was nearly 100,000 higher than the previous year.
It means that David Cameron must more than halve immigration if he is to get anywhere close to the Coalition ‘aspiration’ of bringing net migration down to tens of thousands a year.
A raft of figures published yesterday delivered a series of blows to the Government’s hopes of curbing the levels of immigration that critics say have distorted the economy and deepened poverty and benefit dependency over the past 14 years.
Migration from Eastern Europe is back up again after falling in 2009.
The numbers of Poles and other Eastern Europeans in the UK rose by 43,000.
Immigration from Eastern Europe rose by some 50 per cent to 72,000 while the numbers of Eastern Europeans leaving to go home dropped by nearly half to 29,000.
Labour put no restrictions on the rights of Eastern Europeans to work in the UK when their countries joined the EU in 2004. As a result, the Coalition cannot close the doors or tighten the rules.
Ministers did succeed in cutting the numbers of student visas issued to those from outside Europe in the 12 months to March this year.