East Europeans are leaving Britain

May 20th, 2009 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 20 (IANS) More and more East European migrants are leaving Britain lured by increasing prosperity in their home countries, the British immigration minster said Wednesday.
Immigration statistics released by the British home ministry Wednesday showed that work applications from the eight East European countries that joined the European Union in 2004 are currently at their lowest.

In the first three months of this year 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 corresponding 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 corresponding period in 2008, the home ministry said.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: “Today’s figures show that immigration levels are balancing as more Eastern Europeans are now leaving the UK to return home. This suggests that increasing prosperity in post-Soviet Eastern Europe in the long term can only be beneficial for the UK.”

Immigrants from the European Union - unlike those from India and other countries outside the region - are free to travel and work in EU countries.

Immigrants from outside the region are tested by a so-called points-based system which tests applicants for qualifications, experience, English-language proficiency and whether or not Britain needs their skills.

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