UK Net migration hits record levels

The latest migration statistics published by the Office for National Statistics show that net migration in 2010 was the highest it has ever been.

Net migration for 2010 was 252,000, and this record high level was largely driven by a reduction in the number of people leaving the UK. Only 339,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year, which is the lowest figure since 2001. Immigration remained steady at 591,000.

However, there is some indication that measures introduced by the government at the end of last year are starting to have an effect as net migration dropped back to 245,000 for the 12 months ending March 2011 and immigration was down slightly at 582,000. Whilst this is a move in the right direction from the end-of-year peak, however, it is still 23,000 higher than the same period the year before.

The other significant finding is that 2010 saw the highest number of people on record coming to the UK to study. With the various reforms being made to the student visa system, and the Home Office looking to break the link between student visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain it is clear that they are hoping this number will drop in the coming years.

The number of people leaving the UK for work-related reasons has dropped significantly showing that the current economic situation across the globe is making people less keen to change countries. Equally the UK seems to have lost no appeal to foreign nationals who are hoping to find work or opportunities to study here.

What the figures show is that the government is facing an immense task if it intends on delivering on its own target of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands by the next election.

You can find the published statistics on the Office for Nationals Statistics website here - Migration Statistics Quarterly Report November 2011 - Statistical Bulletin.

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