UK attracts high number of EU emigrants

UK attracts high number of EU emigrants

UK attracts high number of EU emigrants

New figures published by Eurostat show that there are more immigrants living in Britain than nearly every other country in the European Union. The only two countries to have a higher number are Germany and Spain. It is estimated that around a third of immigrants in the UK have crossed over the border from other European nations. However, because there is no way of precisely calculating how many people have come from the EU the proportion could actually be far higher.

Last year the Office for National Statistics estimated that there were 2,334,400 people living in Britain who had been born elsewhere in the EU. This is 200,000 more people than France and only 7,200 fewer than the number in Spain.

Part of the reason the UK has such high immigration figures was a decision by the Labour government to open the borders to countries including Poland which gained membership of the EU in 2004. At the time, other countries were looking at ways to limiting the number of immigrants from the east.

According to Eurostat the number of Poles currently residing in the UK stands at 541,000. Germany remains the number one country in the bloc for attracting immigrants, mainly because of the strength of its economy.

Although British ministers have said they want to reduce net migration to below 100,000 it is currently hovering around 250,000 per year. The worry for ministers at the moment is that an economic crash in the eurozone might lead to more immigrants attempting to cross into the UK.

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