Net migration down 25 percent in Britain

Nov. 30, 2012 at 1:52 AM

LONDON, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Net migration to Britain in the year that ended in March was down about 25 percent from the previous year, the government reported Thursday.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said the coalition government's policies aimed at reducing immigration are working, the Financial Times reported. Those include a crackdown on dubious student visas, a cap on visas for skilled workers and limits on allowing family members to enter Britain.

"This shows we are bringing immigration back under control," Harper said. "Our tough policies are taking effect and this marks a significant step towards bringing net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands by the end of this parliament."

The Office of National Statistics said the number of people entering the country on student visas dropped 8 percent, while the number of British residents moving out of the country with job offers elsewhere was up 5 percent. Overall, net migration was 183,000, down from 242,000.

Edward Acton, vice chairman of the University of East Anglia, told the Financial Times he fears the country is losing legitimate foreign students.

"Ministers dancing on the green at reductions in legitimate student arrivals is in direct contradiction to the assurance the government gave Parliament a fortnight ago that it welcomes all genuine students," he said.

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