Four per cent fewer people arrived in the UK last year
27th August 2010: With fewer British people moving overseas, the net migration to the UK rose last year to 196,000. Compared to 2008, it is up by 33,000.
The data released by the Office for National Statistics reveals 4 per cent fewer people arrived in the UK last year. The number of immigrants was 567,000 compared to 590,000 in 2008.
The Home Office data reveals 37 per cent rise in people granted settlement in the UK in year beginning June 2009. The number of visas issued to students also registered a 35% increase to reach 362,015.
The number of people leaving the UK registered a dip of 13 per cent to touch 371,000-mark from 427,000 in 2008.
Think tank Institute for Public Policy Research attributed the fall in long-term emigration to fewer British people moving overseas.
Among those categorized as immigrants to the UK in 2009 included many Britons actually returning from overseas.
The data also revealed a significant dip in the number of work-related visas. The trend can be attributed to recession. The points-based system also played its part in the phenomenon.
Immigration minister Damian Green took the opportunity to lash out at the previous government. He said the figures were enough to establish the coalition government had inherited a "largely out of control" immigration system.
Green said the figures bring to the fore the need to look at all the other routes, aside from employment by which people come into this country, maybe for education, for family reunion reasons and also, in particular, routes that lead to permanent settlement.
Green said, on the issue of students given permission to come here, it is important to look carefully at those courses to see that they are genuinely valuable and are not just being used as an excuse to evade immigration controls.
On the other hand, shadow home secretary Alan Johnson, reacting to the statistics, said the increase in people entering the country through an academic route only gave credence to the policy of tightening of rules by the previous Labour government.