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Net migration to Britain rises first time in two years, ONS


LONDON, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Britain has seen a year on year increase in net migration for the first time in two years, with more migrants arriving in the country but less to go, official figures showed Thursday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said some 503,000 people immigrated to Britain in the year ending June this year, with a net increase of 182,000 long-term migrants entering the country, the first annual growth for two years.

"However, this is not a statistically significant difference from the 167,000 in the year ending June 2013", adding that the fall in emigration is driving an increase in net migration.

"Emigration is at its lowest level since 2001," the ONS said as the data indicated that 320,000 people left the country in 12 months to June of 2013, compared to 349,000 the previous year.

The figures showed that 183,000 EU citizens immigrated to Britain in the year ending June, compared with the estimate of 158,000 for the previous year.

But it said that there was significant increase in numbers of EU citizens arriving in Britain for work-related reasons.

The statistics agency said that work-related reason now has become the most common one for immigration into Britain, overtaking formal study in Britain for the first time since 2009.

In the year to June, 202,000 people arrived in Britain for work, according to the ONS.

At the same time, immigration of non-EU citizens saw a significant decrease to 242,000 in the year ending June, less than 282,000 of the previous year.

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday announced measures to limited welfare for migrants from the European Union amid rising concern in Britain that migrants from Eastern European countries would exploit the British welfare system.

The measures on immigrants the prime minister announced include new migrants not getting out-of-work benefits for the first three months; payments being stopped after six months unless the claimant has a "genuine" chance of a job; new migrants not being able to claim housing benefit immediately; deportation of those caught begging or sleeping rough, with no return within a year and quadrupling fines for employers not paying the minimum wage.

Currently, there are large numbers of people from Eastern Europe living in Britain as EU nationals. Starting from January 1, 2014 when Romania and Bulgaria will formally become members of EU, the public fears that big influx of immigrants from the two countries will enter Britain next year.