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More Than 250,000 Immigrants Moved To The UK In The Last Year

The government is going to miss its target on cutting immigration. Whether that matters or not is up for debate.

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Net immigration to the UK has risen to 260,000 people a year, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

ONS

About 583,000 people came to live in the UK in the year to June 2014, while 323,000 headed in the opposite direction to live elsewhere. This gives a net immigration total of 260,000.

At the 2010 general election, the Conservatives pledged to cut net immigration to less than 100,000 people a year. Today's figures show there's no way they can achieve that now.

Around half of the new arrivals were from outside the EU.

ons.gov.uk

There's almost nothing the UK government can do to stop EU citizens coming to live in Britain. But it can restrict non-EU citizens from entering the country if it really wants to.

The ONS found the new immigrants mainly came to the UK seeking work.

ONS

The number coming to study has fallen in recent years, while the number seeking work has grown in line with the UK's economic recovery.

Immigration from India has plummeted in the last five years, but far more people are coming to the UK from China and Spain.

ons.gov.uk

The number of Indians emigrating to the UK has almost halved since 2011 to just over 30,000 people a year.

The number of Bulgarians and Romanians immigrating to the UK has jumped in the last two years.

ons.gov.uk

Thirty-two thousand Bulgarians and Romanians immigrated to the UK, almost double the previous year's total.

ONS

Most of the immigration came from the so-called EU15 countries – original members of the EU, such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Irish Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.

Immigration from the EU8, countries which joined the EU in 2004, is actually level after a fall. This includes the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The EU2 countries of Bulgaria and Romania still make a relatively small contribution in terms of total EU immigration.

In short, immigration is rising, driven by new arrivals coming to the UK in search of work.

And there doesn't seem to be much the government can do about it.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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