Saturday, May 28, 2011

Immigration is 'out of control', admits British minister: Rising numbers dash Tory hopes of cuts

Immigration rose to near-record levels last year, official figures have revealed. Net migration increased at the fastest rate since Labour opened Britain’s doors to workers from the Eastern European states that joined the EU seven years ago.

In the year up to September 2010, the figure for net migration – the difference between immigration and emigration – was 242,000, the third highest on record.

Some 586,000 people arrived to live in Britain and 344,000 emigrated. The net migration of 242,000 was nearly 100,000 higher than the previous year. It means that David Cameron must more than halve immigration if he is to get anywhere close to the Coalition ‘aspiration’ of bringing net migration down to tens of thousands a year.

A raft of figures published yesterday delivered a series of blows to the Government’s hopes of curbing the levels of immigration that critics say have distorted the economy and deepened poverty and benefit dependency over the past 14 years.

Migration from Eastern Europe is back up again after falling in 2009. The numbers of Poles and other Eastern Europeans in the UK rose by 43,000. Immigration from Eastern Europe rose by some 50 per cent to 72,000 while the numbers of Eastern Europeans leaving to go home dropped by nearly half to 29,000.

Labour put no restrictions on the rights of Eastern Europeans to work in the UK when their countries joined the EU in 2004. As a result, the Coalition cannot close the doors or tighten the rules.

Ministers did succeed in cutting the numbers of student visas issued to those from outside Europe in the 12 months to March this year. Student visas issued fell by 2 per cent to 346,245 in the year to March. But this was offset by a rise in the numbers of work visas issued.

Despite the efforts of Home Secretary Theresa May to reduce visas issued to workers from outside Europe, the number rose 6 per cent to 161,815 in the year to March.

Two fifths of workers in London come from overseas, the ONS has said. More than 1.4million of the capital's working population were foreign born. By comparison, just over 2.3m were born in the UK. A third of high-skilled workers in the city - including accountants, doctors, teachers and scientists - are also foreign-born with 403,000 posts filled by overseas workers.

Overseas workers fill nearly two thirds of low-skilled jobs in London with just over 200,000 working in jobs such as cleaners, hotel porters, postmen and catering assistants - 80,000 more than British workers.

The Government blamed the previous Labour administration. Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘These statistics show that immigration was out of control thanks to the old system. ‘That is why we have already introduced radical changes to drive the numbers down and we will shortly be consulting on a range of new measures.’

Critics warned however that the Coalition is facing an increasingly difficult issue. Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch said: ‘This sharp rise in immigration comes as a shock. ‘These figures show just what an enormous task the Coalition Government has inherited as a result of Labour’s mass immigration policy. ‘Firm measures are now absolutely essential. The impact on British-born workers is a particular concern that has been brushed under the carpet for too long.’

The net migration figure of 242,000 was 96,000 up in a year and nearly 50 per cent higher than the 163,000 annual figure estimated in the year to December 2008. It is the highest since the record of 260,000 in the year to June 2005.

A fall in emigration contributed to the rise in net migration. The number of emigrants was down from 427,000 a year at the end of 2008 to 344,000 in the year to the end of last September.

But numbers of people coming into the country stayed at roughly the same level that has been maintained since 2004. Over the 12 months to last September, 586,000 people arrived to live in Britain.


Census: Hispanics half of US population growth

The US Census Bureau reported Thursday that the Hispanic population rose by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010, accounting for more than half of the nation’s population increase of 27.3 million.

Put another way, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent – four times America’s overall 9.7 percent growth rate and much more than the non-Hispanic white population, which grew by barely more than 1 percent over the same period.

Details about US population growth come as legal and political issues swirl around illegal immigration, which focuses largely on Hispanics crossing the border into the United States.

The latest Census Bureau information paints a picture of how and where the US Hispanic population is growing – most significantly in the South (57 percent) and the Midwest (49 percent).

“In eight states in the South (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) and in South Dakota, the Hispanic population more than doubled in size between 2000 and 2010,” according to the Census Bureau.

While more than half of the Hispanic population in the United States lives in three states (California, Texas, and Florida), the Hispanic population more than doubled in at least one of every four counties across the country.

About three-quarters of Hispanics in the United States indicated on their census forms that they are of Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban origin. But since 2000, three other Hispanic-origin groups surpassed a population of 1 million: Salvadoran, Dominican, and Guatemalan.

While non-Hispanic whites remain a majority in the United States (64 percent, down from 69 percent in 2000), the growth in the Hispanic population has an important political dimension for both major parties.

In the 2010 midterm elections, 60 percent of Hispanics voted for Democrats and 38 percent voted for Republicans, according to exit polls. In 2008, Hispanics voted for Barack Obama by more than 2 to 1 (67 to 31 percent) over John McCain.

Race and ethnicity are likely to be a factor in the congressional redistricting mandated by the 2010 census.


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