Latest figures show UK most popular EU immigration destination

Latest figures show UK most popular EU immigration destination

New figures from the European Union show that the UK was the most popular destination for migrants in Europe in 2010.

The 2010 figures have just been released by the EU's statistics agency Eurostat. They show that 591,000 immigrants came to the UK. The top four destinations were

1. UK 591,000
2. Spain 465,200
3. Italy 458,900
4. Germany 404,100

These countries took about 60% of the total of immigrants coming to the 27 nation EU.

The Eurostat figures show that there were some 810,000 immigrants who were granted citizenship in the EU in 2010. Of these, 24% (or 194,800) were granted citizenship in the UK. The UK granted citizenship to more foreign nationals than any other EU country that year. France was second granting citizenship to 143,300 people or about 17.5% of the total.

These figures cover the last year of the UK's former Labour government which was voted out of power in 2010. Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of anti-immigration group Migrationwatch UK said that the figures showed that the UK's then Labour government had lost control of migration.

Coalition changes direction

In 2010, the Labour government was voted out and replaced by a Coalition government formed by the UK's right of centre Conservative Party and the centrist Liberal Democrats. It is headed by the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. Since coming to power, the Coalition has attempted to cut back on immigration into the UK. It has introduced various measures including

• Introducing an annual cap of 20,700 on the number of Tier 2 (General) visas for skilled workers
• Abolishing the Tier 1 (General) visa for highly skilled workers
• Cracking down on educational establishments that were suspected of issuing Tier 4 student visas to people who come to the UK to work rather than to study
• Increasing the amount of money that a UK citizen earns before being able to bring his or her spouse to live in the UK

However, despite the fact that the UK has introduced these changes, the UK's immigration minister Mark Harper said last November 'The UK is open for business to the brightest and best migrants'.

UK top for emigrants

The UK also recorded the highest number of emigrants in the EU. Some 340,000 people emigrated from the UK in 2010.

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