New figures released on Thursday indicate that India is the most common non-UK country of birth of residents in 2014, numbering 793,000, which accounts for 9.6% of the total non-UK born population.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there has been a ‘statistically significant’ increase in the number of India-born residents: from 505,000 in 2004 to 793,000 in 2014 — an increase of 288,000.
ONS also revealed that the net migration had reached a record level of 330,000 in the year ending March, putting a dampener on plans of the David Cameron government to reduce it to the ‘tens of thousands instead of hundreds of thousands’.
In 2014, the top five countries of birth for usual residents born outside the UK were India, Poland, Pakistan, Republic of Ireland and Germany, while the top five non-British nationalities were Poland, India, Republic of Ireland, Pakistan and Romania.
ONS said: “Further analysis… shows that of the 793,000 Indian born residing in the UK in 2014, just over half (438,000 or 55.2%) are British nationals, compared to just 30,000 (3.8%) of the 790,000 Poland born residing in the UK”.
It added: “This reflects that those born in Poland do not change their nationality to remain here, whereas for Indian born (and non-EU born in general) there is an incentive to acquire British citizenship. This may also reflect the length of time that individuals have lived in the UK and the numbers born to UK citizens living in India”.
Responding to the 330,000 net migration figure, immigration minister James Brokenshire said: “These stark figures are deeply disappointing. While these figures underline the challenges we need to meet to reduce net migration, they should also act as a further wake-up call for the EU”.
“Current flows of people across Europe are on a scale we haven’t seen since the end of World War Two. This is not sustainable and risks the future economic development of other EU member states.”