Annual net migration to Britain has hit a record level of 330,000 – 10,000 higher than its previous high in 2005, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The 94,000 rise in overall net migration in the 12 months to March was fuelled by a rise of 84,000 in immigration to 636,000 and a fall of 9,000 in emigration, according to the latest quarterly figures.
The rise is split between a 56,000 increase in the numbers coming to live in Britain from within the European Union and a 39,000 rise in those from outside the EU.
The latest rise in net migration has been mainly driven by a continuing rise in those coming to work in Britain, who account for 65,000 of the increase. Nearly two-thirds of those already had a job to come to. There has been a near doubling in the number of Romanians and Bulgarians coming to Britain, from 28,000 to 53,000 in the last 12 months.
The 330,000 record high in net migration is 10,000 higher than the previous peak of 320,000 recorded in 2005, soon after Poland and other east European states joined the EU. The net migration figure is politically significant, since David Cameron renewed the Conservatives’ pledge to reduce it to the “tens of thousands” immediately after the general election.