Immigrants will swell the British population by almost two million in the next decade, according to official predictions Friday.
The British Government now believes the record immigration levels of the past few years are likely to continue.
The projection drew an immediate admission from the Government that it has “worries” over migration.
The new estimate by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), that numbers will grow by 190,000 a year, is 30 percent higher than previous figures.
It emerged on the same day as the embarrassing revelation that four asylum-seekers were caught this week hiding in the lorry bringing a 100,000 pounds top-security BMW car from Germany, for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Britains main opposition Conservative Home Affairs spokesman Damian Green said of the ONS figure “This rips apart the Government’s previous complacent assumptions about net immigration”.
And in a sign that the open-door era of Blair is over, British Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said “This shows what could happen unless we take action now”.
“Frankly it underlines the need for swift and sweeping changes to the immigration system in the next 12 months”.
He admitted “Migration is bringing new wealth but also new worries to Britain”.
The statement contrasted sharply with the past attitude of Labour ministers, who have stressed the benefits of immigration and cast doubt on the motives of those who warned it was too high.
British Home Office officials said the action promised by Byrne refers to policies already announced.
These include the points-based immigration system for migrants from outside the EU beginning next year.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has already spoken of “British jobs for British workers” said he favoured a system of managed migration.
The Prime Minister said at Labour’s conference, in Bournemouth, southern England, that he was interested in the Australian method of controlling immigration, which allows migrants in depending on how many points they score on a list of desirable qualities.
The ONS figures will fuel concern about how the new arrivals will fit into a country that is already crowded and in need of further homes, schools and hospitals, commentators said.
Last week a British police chief called for more officers to deal with offences committed by migrants in East Anglia, southern England, and yesterday new school statistics showed teachers are facing a growing burden in dealing with pupils who do not speak English.