The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

UK immigration increases 20%

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The Office for National Statistics published annual figures for UK immigration yesterday.

The statistics reveal net UK immigration for "long-term migrants" (i.e., people migrating to/from the UK for a period of at least 12 months) reached 196,000 in the year to December 2009, which compares to 163,000 in the year to December 2008 -- an increase of just over 20%.

They also show that 567,000 long-term migrants came to the UK in 2009, which represents an annual fall of around 4%.

Meanwhile, 371,000 migrants left the UK in 2009 -- a drop of around 15% on 2008 numbers.

In the year to June 2010, the UK Border Agency issued a total of 161,050 work-related visas, a decrease of 14% on the previous year, and 362,015 student visas, an increase of 35%.

The big fall in the number of work visas issued, combined with a massive increase in the issuance of study visas, throws into further question the wisdom of the government's recent decision to introduce an immigration cap.

Under current plans, the immigration cap would only limit migrant workers -- it would not affect student visa numbers -- and has drawn stinging criticism from a number of groups, including the CBI, Greater London Authority, and Law Society.

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