Britain saw rapid rise in non-EU influx with points plan

June 3rd, 2010 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron By Venkata Vemuri
London, June 3 (IANS) The Labour’s bluff was called as official figures revealed the tightened points-based immigration system was not so tough after all, with immigration from non-European Union countries showing a dramatic rise of 25 percent in the year ending last September.

Figures just released by the Office for National Statistics show that more than half the 503,000 immigrants who arrived in the year to last September - 270,000 people - are from outside the EU. Net immigration increased the total population by 142,000 last year.

A study by MigrationWatch says economic migration, which according to Labour’s claims was expected to fall by 12 percent, actually increased by 20 percent, while the number of foreign students went up by over 30 percent.

The number of non-EU migrants given work permits, or permission to carry on working in Britain, increased by 20 per cent, from 159,535 in 2007 - the year before points system was introduced - to 190,640 last year. The total includes dependents.

For students, who came under the points system a year later in 2008, the number of approvals increased by 31 percent from 208,800 that year to 273,445 a year later.

The number of foreign nationals given British citizenship rose above 200,000 in 2009, up more than 50 percent in 12 months.

The figures undermine Labour’s claims that the points system would have a dramatic impact.

Andrew Green of Migrationwatch told the Daily Mail newspaper: “They have left an immigration system in chaos and the coalition with a huge mountain to climb in order to fulfil David Cameron’s election promise that net immigration would be brought down from the present level to tens of thousands, as in the 1980s and early 1990s.”

The revelation comes as the Conservatives-Liberal Democrat coalition prepares to set out how it will reduce net immigration to levels not seen since the 1990s.

The coalition’s strategy on containing immigration is three-pronged: Set an annual limit on non-EU economic migrants admitted to Britain, speed up asylum system and end detention of children for immigration purposes.

Reacting to the latest figures, government immigration spokesman Damian Green said: “The government will be introducing an annual limit on work permits as an important part of bringing immigration down to reasonable levels.”

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