4 million people – representing one in 15 UK residents – have travelled to Britain from their own countries to live, according to analysis from the Office for National Statistics.
This latest figure, for 2008, was a sharp rise from 10 years previously, when 2.2 million foreign citizens were living in the UK, representing one in every 26 residents.
The population figures also showed that net migration had a greater impact on increasing Britain’s population than the number of babies born to those already living here.
The Conservatives promised to cap migration levels during the election campaign. Ministers have already introduced a temporary limit of 24,100 until April 2011.
The government’s Migration Advisory Committee is expected to publish recommendations on the limits for economic migration to the UK next week.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “Britain can benefit from migration but not uncontrolled migration. I recognise the importance of attracting the brightest and the best to ensure strong economic growth, but unlimited migration places unacceptable pressure on public services.
“It is our aim to reduce the level of net migration back down to the levels of the 1990s – tens of thousands each year, not hundreds of thousands. Introducing a limit on migrants from outside Europe coming here to work is just one of the ways we intend to achieve this.”
The ONS figures showed that Britain’s foreign born population, as defined by the number of citizens of other countries living in the UK, stood at 6.6 per cent in 2008, slightly above the EU average.
Luxembourg had the highest proportion of foreign citizens normally resident in the country, at 42.6 per cent, while Romania had the lowest, with 0.1 per cent.
Between 2004 and 2009, net migration into the UK accounted for an increase in the population of 3.4 people per 1,000, slightly more than the natural rise from births outnumbering deaths, which was 3.0 people per 1,000. Source Telegraph.
The rise in immigration has more to do the EU than the managed migration which brought in essential workers (which are still needed) to fill shortage occupations in the IT, Catering and Healthcare industries over the last 10 years.
UK Immigration figures exploded after the expansion of the EU, when Britain became one of only three countries to allow free movement of labour.
Some estimates put the number of former Eastern Bloc citizens now living in the UK as high as 1 million, an unprecedented influx in less than ten years.
It should be remembered that millions of UK citizens live in other countries all over the world. Each year hundreds of thousands of Brits emigrate to or retire in Australia, Canada, Spain and France.
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