1,500 immigrants arrive in Britain daily, report says
More than 1,500 immigrants arrived in Britain every day last year, the Office for National Statistics has said.
The figures reflect a sharp rise in the the number of Eastern Europeans coming to live in the UK following the expansion of the European Union in May 2004. They will add fuel to a debate on how to control population flows when the EU again expands its borders to embrace Romania and Bulgaria in January.
The government has promised it will restrict the number of Romanians and Bulgarians seeking work but there are doubts about how effectively such a pledge can be enforced.
The number of people arriving from Poland, Hungary and six other former Soviet Bloc countries now within the EU rose by 50 per cent to 80,000 last year, according to the official data. Poland accounted for the bulk of migrants, with 49,000 Poles heading across the channel, more than three times the previous year's figure.
The influx from eastern Europe swelled total immigration to 565,000. Although this total was slightly down from the 2004 figure, the ONS said it marked a continuation of the "overall trend of high in-migration into the UK that began in the late 1990s."
advertisementAs thousands of economic migrants were pouring into the country, an average of one thousand Britons left every day to seek a new life abroad.
The top destination for the 198,000 who emigrated last year was Australia, where a fifth were heading, followed by Spain and France.
The figures also showed that the number of asylum seekers fell still further from its 2000 peak of 81,000 to just 11,000.
In the year, 68,000 people from the Old Commonwealth - Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa - came here intending to stay for at least a year, while another 121,000 came from other Commonwealth countries.
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