Giles Sheldrick, Express (London), March 10, 2014
The growing popularity of Britain as a haven for economic migrants has been exposed in figures showing the lives of almost 400,000 foreign-born residents are funded by the taxpayer.
New Home Office statistics reveal that 397,000 non-UK nationals received handouts in February 2013–a rise of nearly 110,000 from 288,720 in the five years since 2008.
But the true number could be even greater as the details are not yet available for the past 12 months.
Ukip spokesman Tim Aker said: “This shows the Government has virtually no control over our borders.
“It shows how broken our migration system is–and the longer this is allowed to go on the more chaotic the situation will get.
“We need to be outside the EU in order to have full control over our borders so we know who is in the UK and who is deserving of benefits.”
It was revealed that net UK migration rose to 212,000 in the year to September 2013, pushing it further away from Prime Minister David Cameron’s target of below 100,000 by 2015.
The net flow–the numbers moving to the UK minus those leaving–soared from 154,000 the previous year.
The increase was driven by a huge growth in the number of EU citizens flocking to Britain.
There are now 5.6 million claiming working-age handouts in Britain–roughly 16.5 per cent of the 33.6 million working population.
Individuals need to supply a National Insurance number when making a claim or starting a job.
Department for Work and Pensions figures show NI registrations to adult overseas nationals entering the UK has nearly doubled in a decade. In 2002 there were 311,288 but that figure jumped to 617,237 in 2013.
Those coming here from within the EU and demanding an NI number totalled 385,000 in 2012/13–a 10 percent increase on the previous year.
Leading the way were Poles but almost 18,000 Romanians arrived too.
Britain’s soft-touch reputation for benefits meant, as of February last year, 31 per cent of claimants who were non-UK nationals when first registering for a NI number were from within the EU, including 15 per cent from accession countries.
A Home Office spokesman claimed its policy of controlling immigration was on track.
He added: “Our reforms have cut non-EU migration to its lowest level since 1998. There are now 82,000 fewer people arriving annually from outside the EU than when this government came to power.”