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Immigration to the UK hit record levels

Immigration to the UK hit record levelsImmigration from the European Union to Britain hit a historically high inflow of 284,000 EU citizens before June referendum, Reuters.

Net migration from the European Union to Britain hit a record high in the 12 months running up to June's referendum vote to leave the bloc, in which concerns about immigration motivated many Brexit voters.

Net migration to Britain from the EU, those arriving minus those leaving, reached a new record of 189,000 in the year to June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Overall net migration was 335,000, just 1,000 short of the previous high.

"Brexit gives us the opportunity to be able to control numbers coming in from Europe," immigration minister Robert Goodwill told Sky News on Thursday.

"We want to return to sustainable levels and that's all about... the pressure it puts on the health service, the pressure it puts on education, the pressure it puts on housing and that was very clear during the referendum," he said.

Just over half of net migration to Britain came from non-EU nations but Romania became the most common country of last residence for immigrants arriving in Britain in 2015, accounting for 10 percent of all new arrivals, the ONS said.

Employment opportunity was the key factor, according to the ONS' Head of International Statistics Nicola White.

"The main reason people are coming to the UK is for work, and there has been a significant increase in people looking for work, particularly from the EU," she said.


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