Net migration to UK jumps by 25,000 in a year to 182,000
Fall in emigration and rise in migration from southern Europe put government target of 100,000 by general election in jeopardy
A spokesman for the home secretary, Theresa May, says the rise in net migration was largely accounted for by the growing strength of the UK economy. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
The latest official figures for net migration to Britain show a surprise increase of 25,000 in the past year to 182,000 putting in jeopardy the home secretary, Theresa May's target of getting it below 100,000 by the time of the next general election.
The Office for National Statistics said the increase was fuelled by a fall in emigration from Britain to the lowest level since 2001 and a rise in migrants coming to work from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.
The ONS data shows the government's squeeze on overseas student numbers has led to those coming to work now being the largest group of migrants. Further education overseas student numbers have fallen by more than 30%, while university students have continued to rise by 7%, driven mainly by extra students from China.
A Home Office spokesman said the rise in net migration was largely accounted for by the growing strength of the UK economy: "It is growing at a faster rate than those in southern Europe."
Separate national insurance data from the Department for Work & Pensions shows an extra 28,500 Romanians and Bulgarians came to work in Britain in the year to September – a rise of almost 3%.
The ONS figures show that 503,000 people came to live and work in Britain for more than 12 months in the year to June 2013, compared with 517,000 the previous year. The figures also show that 320,000 left Britain to live and work abroad compared with 320,000 the previous year.
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