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Immigration adds a city a year to Britain’s population

Friday, 16 January 2015

New official study charts how population growth from immigration has surged twelvefold in a generation.

Immigration used to add the equivalent of a couple of villages to the population of Britain a year - but now it adds a city, according to an official study charting the scale of the transformation of the country over the last 30 years.

Growth in the UK population as a direct result of new arrivals has increased by more than 1,200 per cent since 1983, a rate on course to rise further.

The report by the Office for National Statistics charts how Britain entered the 1980s as a net exporter of people, with more Britons leaving for a new life abroad than new arrivals moving in.

And by 1983 net migration stood at just 17,000, roughly the equivalent of two thriving villages.

But by 2013, the last full year for which figures are available, it had increased more than twelvefold on that level to 209,000 – the equivalent of the population of Portsmouth.

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If the pattern seen in the first half 2014 is replicated, the increase in net migration since 1983 could be more than fifteenfold.

The study also shows how immigration from European Union countries is rapidly catching up with that from outside the EU.

Meanwhile Poland is on course to become Britain’s unofficial second home, rapidly closing in on India as the country in which most non UK-born residents were born.

The campaign group Migration Watch said it underlined the “absolute imperative” to bring the numbers of people entering Britain under control. But it argued that the report did not give the full picture of the impact of immigration as the number of babies born to migrant parents are not counted separately.

Overall the population of the UK has surged by almost eight million – or 14 per cent - since 1980 and stood at just over 64 million by 2013.

While as recently as the early 1990s, population growth was driven by natural change, with more people being born than dying, since then immigration has been increasingly important.

By 2005 migration accounted for almost three quarters of population growth. Since then Britain has experienced a miniature baby boom and in the last two years natural change overtook immigration as the biggest single factor – although without counting children born to migrant parents.

Net migration has added more than a million to the population in the last five years alone.

The figures show that Poland is on course to overtake India as the foreign country in which the largest proportion of Britain’s population was born.

An estimated 734,000 people born in India were living permanently in the UK in 2013, a figure which rose by 232,000 since 2004.

Poland was ranked second, accounting for 679,000 of the UK’s foreign-born resident population in 2013.

But the number of Polish-born residents increased more than seven times since 2004, the year in which Poland and a group of other former Eastern-bloc countries joined the European Union.

Alp Mehmet, Vice Chairman of Migration Watch, said: “This shows that it is absolutely imperative that immigration is brought under control.

“At the moment, frankly, it is far from under control. Given that population growth is now largely the result of immigration, it behoves us to think seriously about the measures we need to bring immigration and net migration down.”

He claimed there appeared to be virtual “collusion” by most of the mainstream political parties to play down or fail to discuss immigration.

But he added: “I think that come the election campaign, parties will find that every time they knock on the door people are going to be saying: ‘Yes but what about immigration?’”

The Telegraph


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