Net migration to Britain soars, fuelled by arrivals from EU
LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron's promise to slash immigration suffered a blow on Thursday when official figures showed a surge in net migration, driven by new arrivals from within the European Union.
EU migration increased from 149,000 to 209,000 in the year to September 2013, contributing to an overall increase in net migration from 154,000 to 212,000, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The data is likely to fuel debate about the impact of Britain's membership of the European Union ahead of an in-out referendum that Mr Cameron has promised to hold in 2017, provided he is re-elected next year.
In particular, the figures will add to fears that Britain faces a flood of migrants from the EU's poorer members, with the number of Romanians and Bulgarians moving to Britain rising from 9,000 to 24,000 in a year.