The latest UK immigration data has revealed a major increase in net migration, with the figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that the figure has moved even further away from government targets.
According to the ONS data, net migration stood at 212,000 for the year to September 2013; a sizeable increase on the 154,000 recorded in the previous year, and even further off Prime Minister David Cameron's target of reducing net migration the the “tens of thousands” before the next election.
The increase in the figure has partly been attributed to higher levels of migrants from certain European countries, including Poland, Spain, Italy and Portugal. While working restrictions were still in place at this time, Romania and Bulgaria were included in the European Union during this time and a rise in immigrants from these two countries was also recorded. Figures rose to 24,000 in the 12-month period; up from around 9,000 in the previous year.
James Brokenshire, UK immigration minister, spoke to the BBC about the figures. He said that there has been a sizeable decrease in immigrants from outside the EU, with levels below what they have been “since 1998”.
But, he added, this has been alongside a “very significant increase in migration from the EU” - which effectively doubled.
The number of EU citizens coming to the UK increased from 149,000 to 209,000, according the ONS. Meanwhile, non-EU citizens - those moving to the country through the UK visa and work permit systems – fell from 269,000 to 244,000.
Despite the increase in the net migration figure of nearly 60,000 over the year, the numbers still remain below the net migration figures seen in the early days of the coalition, which stood at around 263,000 in September 2011.