Half A Million Immigrants Arrived Last Year, Says ONS

Half a million immigrants arrived last year, says ONS

Press Association
Thursday November 2, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

More than 1,500 immigrants arrived in Britain every day last year, official data showed today.

The Office for National Statistics said that 565,000 people came to live here for at least a year during the course of 2005.

Meanwhile, 1,000 people a day left the UK to live abroad – an estimated 380,000 – half of whom were British citizens.

It means that the country's net population rose by 500 a day, or 185,000 during the 12 months.

The ONS's Total International Migration figures said that the 565,000 estimate was 17,000 fewer than the 2004 figure, but added: “This still continued the overall trend of high in-migration into the UK that began in the late 1990s.”

The largest group of migrants were people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, who accounted for two-thirds of net “in-migration”.

However, the largest single nationality coming to Britain was Poles.

The number of people arriving for at least a year from the eight former Soviet bloc countries which joined the EU in May 2004 – including Poland – increased by 50% to 80,000 last year, it said.

“This increase can be explained by 2005 being the first full calendar year following the date of accession,” said the ONS report.

The net in-migration figure for the eight former communist states was 64,000.

However, these figures did not appear to tally with previous Home Office data on arrivals from the eight eastern European states, which said 205,000 came here to work in 2005.

An estimated 49,000 Poles arrived in the UK last year intending to stay for at least a year, almost three times the 2004 figure.

Of the 198,000 Britons who left for a new life overseas, the top destination was Australia, where a fifth were heading, followed by Spain and France.

The number of asylum seekers fell still further from its 2000 peak of 81,000 to just 11,000.

In the year, 68,000 people from the “old Commonwealth” – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa – came here intending to stay for at least a year, while another 121,000 came from other Commonwealth countries.