Immigration Falls as Visas Cut Back
Byline: Steve Doughty Social Affairs Correspondent
MIGRATION into Britain has seen the biggest fall in 20 years, official figures revealed yesterday.
A total of 536,000 foreigners came to live here in 2011, 42,000 fewer than the year before.
The drop was the biggest since a fall of 61,000 during the 1991 recession.
The numbers entering Britain were the lowest since 2004, when hundreds of thousands of Eastern European workers were allowed in.
The main reason for the cut in numbers was a dramatic reduction in student visas.
Ministers hailed the figures as a major step towards the Government's aim of reducing immigration to 1990s levels.
The key net migration figure - the number added to the population after both immigration and emigration are counted - fell by nearly 25 per cent from 242,000 to 183,000.
Students coming in to join courses at further education colleges went down by 67 per cent, while those going to English language schools fell by 76 per cent. The number of foreign students at British universities went up 1 per cent. Student numbers have come down due to limits on visas for those outside the European Union and a crackdown on bogus colleges used to cheat the immigration system.
New methods, such as checks on the English language skills of prospective students, were introduced last year.
The number of student visas issued was 26 per cent down on the previous year. …