THE number of people migrating away from the UK has plummeted by 20 per cent, data from the Office for National Statistics showed yesterday.
In the 12 months to September last year, 344,000 people departed British shores for a life elsewhere. This compares to the year to December 2008, when 427,000 people left.
Government plans to cut net immigration to “tens of thousands” were dealt another blow by the data.
The rate of immigration actually dropped from December 2008 to September 2010, yet the lower number of people leaving the UK resulted in a net increase in the figures.
“A net migration target makes no sense as we cannot control emigration,” commented Chris Nicholson, head of the Centre Forum thinktank.
Net immigration increased to an annual rate of 242,000, up from 163,000 over the same period.
Immigration for studying rose to 241,000 in the year to September 2010, a 30 per cent rise on the previous year.
“Overseas students should be excluded from the government’s target,” Nicholson added.