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Immigration hits 5-year high in Britain

May 27, 2011 at 1:39 AM

LONDON, May 27 (UPI) -- Net migration to Britain hit a five-year high of 243,000 last year, with fewer Britons emigrating and more Poles looking for work in Britain, officials say.

The figure for the year ending Sept. 10, 2010, was almost 100,000 more than in the previous year, The Guardian reported.

Prime Minister David Cameron and other Conservative leaders have promised to reduce immigration to "tens of thousands" by the next election in 2015. But the figures released Thursday suggest they could have a struggle.

Poles have been able to move freely to Britain since the country joined the European Union in 2004, and are now the largest foreign nationality community in Britain. The Indian-born community is larger, but Indians are more likely to become British citizens.

Damian Green, the immigration minister, said the figures represent a big jump before the government put some restrictions in place, including a crackdown on fraudulent student visas.

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