Net migration to the UK reached a record high in 2010, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.
While UK immigration remained relatively steady, emigration dropped to its lowest level since 2001, prompting a rise in the net figure to 252,000.
Indeed, just 203,000 non-British citizens emigrated last year; down from the 2008 peak of 255,000.
In terms of people moving to the country on UK visas and work permits, study was identified as the main motivation for immigration. A total of 238,000 came to the country for further education last year, compared to the 211,000 who arrived in 2009.
Damian Green, the UK immigration minister, observed that the increase in net migration suggests that the government “was right to take swift action to overhaul the immigration system”.
He added: “Latest quarterly figures show a decrease in the number of student and work visas issued compared to a year earlier - an early sign that our policies are starting to take effect.
“The latest net migration figures are also encouraging, showing a fall since the recent peak in September 2010, but we are clear there is much more to be done.”