The latest migration statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that net long term immigration into the UK has increased to 243,000 for the year to March 2014, a ‘statistically significant’ increase from the 175,000 seen in the previous 12 months. That is an increase of 68,000.

While net migration has increased since the most recent low of 154,000 in the year ending September 2012, says the ONS, it remains below the peak of 320,000 in the year ending June 2005.

At the same time 316,000 people emigrated out of the UK with long term emigration having been stable since 2010.

560,000 people immigrated into the UK, an increase on the previous 492,000 and two thirds of the increase was down to an increase in immigration of EU citizens of 44,000 to 214,000.

There was also a statistically significant increase of immigrants of EU2 (Bulgarian and Romanian) citizens from 12,000 to 28,000.

The decline in non-EU immigration since 2011 came to a stop with 265,000 non-EU citizens immigrating to the UK in the year to march 2014.

Steven Woolfe, UKIP Migration spokesman, attacked Conservatives over the numbers saying:

Crowd - FreeFoto.com

Crowd – FreeFoto.com

"These shocking figures today show that the Government does not have a handle on immigration. The Conservative Party promised to cut net migration to tens of thousands and yet it has shot up by a staggering 68,000 in just one year. It is quite simple. They lie to the electorate. They lie to try to keep votes. Well they are being found out.

"They do not keep their promises on migration, they do not keep their promises on having a referendum and they will not keep their promises on Europe. It is no wonder their own MPs are losing faith and they are haemorraghing support to UKIP.

"The situation is uncontrollable and unsustainable. Mass migration at this level puts such immense strain on our already stretched public services. The coalition government is dancing around the issue. It is clear that Britain now is ready for a fair, global looking and ethical migration policy, to sustain our public services for generations to come, and UKIP are the only party to deliver that."

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:

“David Cameron and Theresa May must now admit that their net migration target is in tatters and they have utterly broken their grand immigration promises.

“David Cameron promised "no ifs, no buts" that net migration would fall to the tens of thousands. Instead it has gone up by nearly 70,000 in the last year.

"Time and again Theresa May has boasted that she has cut net migration by a third. Yet the truth is that net migration is now the same as it was when she came to office in 2010.

“This massive gap between Government rhetoric and the reality, as well as no serious action to tackle the root causes of anxiety about immigration, is destroying public trust and confidence.

“The Government's net migration target has been a failure from the start. It treats all legal migration as the same, but ignores illegal immigration altogether where much more action is needed.”

“Fewer people are being caught after absconding, e-borders has been a costly failure, fewer foreign criminals have been deported and fewer dodgy employers have been punished. Nothing is being done about employers bringing in cheap foreign labour to undercut local wages. And at the same time foreign students starting university courses are being targeted so we don't get the investment and skills we need.

“We need to tackle the root causes of people’s concerns. Labour will bring in stronger border controls with exit checks so that visas can be enforced to tackle illegal immigration, much stronger action against exploitation that undercuts wages and responsible businesses, and different targets and controls for different kinds of immigration.

“People are worried about the impact of immigration. But the Government's false promises and empty rhetoric are simply increasing public concerns rather than addressing them with practical policies. It's time for Theresa May and David Cameron admit their promises are now in shreds and rethink their failing approach.”

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