The Home Office has today published the following immigration statistics covering migration from Eastern Europe, asylum applications, removals and voluntary departures.
Work applications from the eight accession countries have fallen to their lowest level since they joined the European Union (EU) in 2004, according to the latest Accession Monitoring Report.
In the first three months of 2009 there were 23,000 applications from workers in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia and the Czech Republic -down from 48,755 in the same period in 2008. The decrease is mainly explained by a drop in Polish applicants, which fell to 12,000 in the first quarter of 2009 from 32,000 in the same period in 2008.
The statistics also show that the majority of workers coming from the A8 countries in the twelve months to March 2009 are young – 78 per cent were aged between 18 and 34 -and only eight per cent stated they had dependants living with them in the United Kingdom when they registered. In the same year 84 per cent of those registered were working for more than 35 hours per week.
Although applications for jobseekers allowance from A8 nationals rose in Q1 2009, of the 5,561 individuals who made applications, only 1,671 were put forward for further consideration.
The Bulgarian and Romanian Accession Statistics show that applications from these two countries have also fallen to the lowest level since they joined the EU in 2007. There were 610 applications for accession worker cards and 6,205 applications for registration certificates in the first quarter of 2009.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
‘Today’s figures show that immigration levels are balancing as more Eastern Europeans are now leaving the United Kingdom to return home. This suggests that increasing prosperity in post Soviet Eastern Europe in the long term can only be beneficial for the United Kingdom.
‘In addition there are now, according to independent research, around 1.5 million British people working in other countries in the European Union. Nevertheless, the Government will continue to do everything it can to ensure that migration works for everyone.’
The Control of Immigration Statistics show that between January and March this year 15,840 people who had no right to be here were removed from the country or departed voluntarily. In the same period in 2008 16,760 people were removed or departed voluntarily.
These statistics also show that the United Kingdom continues to receive fewer asylum applications per head of the population than many of its European counterparts.
Applications for asylum have increased from 6,595 in the first quarter of 2008 to 8,380 in the same period this year, mainly driven by Zimbabwean applications.
The number of initial decisions made on asylum applications was up 16 per cent from 4,435 in the first three months of 2008 to 5,145 in the same period this year.
Mr Woolas said:
‘Our border has never been stronger. Last year we prevented over 28,000 individual attempts to cross the Channel illegally and the number of illegals found in Kent fell by nearly 90 per cent.
‘We are making the United Kingdom a more hostile place for illegal immigrants through our tough civil penalties regime which has seen fines worth a potential £18 million issued to businesses that have employed people with no right to work.
‘Our ability to return those who have no right to be here depends on detaining them and successfully repatriating them. That is why we continue to work closely with the police, build new removal detention centres and secure further agreements with key countries to take their nationals back.’
Asylum intake has remained broadly at the same level over the past four years and it is less than a third of the level when it peaked in 2002. At the end of December the Home Office met its target to conclude 60 per cent of new asylum cases within six months.
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