Migration crisis ‘could push UK out of Europe’: As immigration hits record 336,000, a stark warning from the Foreign Secretary

  • Phillip Hammond warned that voters will reject EU unless solution is found
  • Gave warning at speech in Rome yesterday, as new figures were released
  • Government statistics showed 336,000 net new arrivals – 920 per day
  • See more news on the migrant crisis at 

There were 636,000 arrivals in 12 months, and the net migration figure of 336,000 is the biggest ever announced. It means the equivalent of a city the size of Coventry is being added to the 65 million people in Britain every year – at a rate of 920 a day.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said voters will choose to leave the EU unless there was a clampdown on migrant benefits. The number of people coming into the country was ‘not sustainable’ and was putting too much pressure on schools and hospitals, he said.

Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond gave the warning at a speech yesterday in Rome

Yesterday’s figures also revealed:

  • A wave of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria is driving up the number of Europeans coming here;
  • 265,000 EU citizens arrived in a year – the equivalent to a city the size of Derby – and net migration of EU citizens increased by 42,000 to 180,000;
  • The migration crisis which engulfed Europe over the summer led to a sharp rise in the number of refugees seeking asylum in the UK.

It came as Dutch PM Mark Rutte said the EU risked the same fate as the Roman Empire if it failed to protect its borders. He said: ‘As we all know from the Roman Empire, big empires go down if the borders are not well protected. We really have an imperative that it is handled.’

 The rising European migrant numbers will pile pressure on David Cameron in his negotiations for a new deal for Britain in advance of the EU membership referendum. Last night Mr Cameron, on a visit to Vienna, said it was ‘crucial’ that the immigration issue was dealt with.

 In a speech in Rome – made before the Office for National Statistics immigration figures were released – Mr Hammond warned that Mr Cameron had to secure a ‘tangible outcome’ if he was to convince voters to stay in.

He said the majority of British people now favoured ‘Brexit’ because of fears Europe was being overwhelmed by ‘what appears to many people to be an uncontrollable wave of migration’.

Mr Hammond added: ‘Since the migration crisis began earlier this summer, the poll numbers have changed and the most recent poll showed that by a small margin a majority are now in favour of leaving the EU. This reflects the effect of the migration crisis and fear of the future and fear that Europe is losing control of the situation.’

The rising European migrant numbers will pile pressure on David Cameron, pictured outside Number 10 yesterday,  to strike a new deal in Europe

 Immigration minister James Brokenshire tried to distance the Government from the fiasco, saying: ‘Too many British employers are still overly reliant on foreign workers.

‘In the past it has been too easy for some businesses to bring in workers from overseas rather than to take the decision to train our workforce here at home.’

Immigration has been running at more than double the level of emigration – put at 300,000 for the year to June – since last year. Nearly 300,000 of the migrants came into the country to work, up by 53,000 from the previous year. The 294,000 who came to work is the highest figure ever recorded, with another 200,000 immigrants coming as students.

The main force driving immigration up is the continuing wave of workers coming in from Europe, especially from Romania and Bulgaria.

There were 265,000 immigrants from Europe in the year to June – an increase of 42,000 in 12 months.

Net migration from the EU has risen sharply in recent years to reach record levels, piling pressure on the government

 Mr Cameron is looking for a four-year bar on EU immigrants claiming working benefits such as tax credits and child benefit, and a bar on their access to social housing for the same time period. But immigrants from the rest of the world – who, unlike EU citizens, are subject to entry rules under the control of Home Secretary Theresa May – also rose, by 17,000 to 286,000, the ONS report said. It means the Government is failing to achieve reductions towards its promised target even where it has freedom to act.

There were even more ominous signs for ministers in the latest count of new National Insurance numbers handed out to foreign citizens. The ONS immigration figures are mainly based on a survey which interviews only 4,000 immigrants at air and sea ports each year, and which has had serious flaws in the past.

But the NI number count, based on real people who need their number to get a job, showed 862,000 foreign nationals registered numbers in the year to September, up by 194,000 (29 per cent) on the previous year.

Alp Mehmet, of the MigrationWatch UK think-tank, said: ‘These are very disappointing figures. If these numbers continue the pressure on our infrastructure will intensify.’

The 336,000 net migration figure compares with the previous highest announcement – 330,000 in the year to March. However, the small print of yesterday’s report showed that the 330,000 figure had been revised upwards to 336,000.

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