NET migration to the UK has risen by 21 per cent since last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Around 239,000 more people arrived in the country than left it during 2010.
The number of people leaving the country or being removed in the three months to August fell to the lowest level since data became available in 2001, while long-term emigration in 2010 was at a six-year low.
Meanwhile the number of people migrating here for a definite job fell to the lowest since 2004, compounding a slide that has accelerated since the financial crisis of 2008.
Education remains the most common reason for people to move to the UK.
The Labour party complained that the figures prove the coalition is failing to deliver on its pledge to manage immigration.
The government has said it will bring net migration down to “tens of thousands” by the end of the Parliament in 2015.
But think-tank CentreForum said: “Rather than showing anything about whether immigration controls are too light or too lax, the figures simply show that a net migration target is silly. We cannot control the number of people leaving the country, and that is what is driving these figures.”