Immigration figures up as Britons stay at home

November 19th, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 19 (IANS) Net immigration to Britain has hit 237,000 because fewer people are leaving the country, according to figures published Wednesday.The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said the number was an increase of 46,000 on 2006.

The estimated number of people arriving to live in Britain for 12 months or more was 577,000 in 2007, compared with 591,000 in 2006.

But the number of people leaving the country fell from 400,000 to 340,000 over the same period.

The figures prompted fresh calls from the opposition Conservative Party for the British government to place an annual limit on immigration.

“Immigration can be of real benefit to the country but only if it is properly controlled. These figures betray a government that has completely lost control over the last 10 years,” Conservative home affairs spokesman Dominic Grieve said.

Immigration Minister Phil Woolas says he wants to ensure that the British population, which currently stands at 61 million, does not pass 70 million - but his statement is reported to have been opposed by other members of the government.

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