Daniel Martin, Daily Mail (London), July 13, 2011
More immigrants settle permanently in Britain than any other country in Europe, a study revealed yesterday.
The latest figures showed that 397,900 foreigners decided to live here in 2009–second in the world only to the U.S.
The figure marked a rise of 14 per cent from the previous year. It was the largest increase in the developed world, at a time when most countries saw dramatic falls in the number of permanent settlers.
The study, from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said the increase was largely down to family members coming to stay with those already in Britain, and the large number of foreign students living here.
The study comes just over a week after Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said a generation of Britons would be condemned to a life on benefits unless immigration rules were tightened.
He said back-to-work schemes would fail without strict controls on incomers, and called on firms to employ British-born people rather than rely on migrant labour. Business leaders responded to his plea by saying British workers had a poor work ethic compared with those from abroad.
The OECD report, Trends in International Migration, appears to back up the business leaders’ view. It found Britain is one of the few countries where migrant workers are less likely to end up unemployed than locals.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the think-tank MigrationWatch UK, said last night the figures proved Labour had made Britain a soft touch for immigration.
‘Labour’s loss of control of immigration . . . has left us with a situation where our population is growing at the fastest rate for 50 years,’ he said. ‘The pressure on housing, health and education can only be intensified at a time when Labour left no money to deal with the extra demand.’
The OECD report shows Britain is one of the only countries where the level of permanent migration increased in the years after the credit crunch.
The number of permanent migrants here is exceeded only by the U.S., where 1.1million people settled permanently–up 2 per cent on the previous year.
France had only 178,700 new settlers–down 7 per cent–and Germany 197,500, down 13 per cent. In Ireland, the total fell by 42 per cent to 38,900.
The number of people settling in Britain has risen by more than 50 per cent since 2003.
The report by the OECD, which represents developed nations, said: ‘Most countries saw declines in permanent migration in 2009, almost half showing falls of 10 per cent or more.’
It said Britain actually saw a fall of more than a quarter in the number of people coming for work, but the total of permanent settlers went up because those who had moved here on temporary visas opted to stay, ‘especially but not exclusively international students’.
It added: ‘This, along with increases in family migration and in movements for other reasons, more than offset what would have otherwise been a demand-induced decline.’
Last night Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘This report confirms that even during the recession, jobs in the UK were going to migrant workers while other countries saw a decline in migrant labour.’