British Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to cut annual net migration to below 100,000 was undermined on Thursday after figures showed the net flow of migrants coming into Britain rose by 37 percent to 212,000 people in the year to September 2013, Reuters reports.
The Labour opposition as well as others had continuously warned that the British government’s target was unrealistic, though a Downing Street spokesman said: “That is absolutely the objective and we’re going to keep working towards that.”
Britain’s Office for National Statistics showed net migration at 212,000 people in the year to the end of September 2013, an increase of 58,000 on the previous year.
Many have argued that Britain simply isn’t able to control its own inflow of people due to European Union membership.
James Brokenshire, Britain’s new Immigration minister, said: “Numbers are down across the board in areas where we can control immigration, but arrivals from the EU have doubled in the last year.
“We cannot impose formal immigration controls on EU migrants, so we are focusing on cutting out the abuse of free movement between EU member states and seeking to address the factors that drive European immigration to Britain.”
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said: “These latest figures show just how out of control the government is when it comes to controlling immigration in and out of the UK.
“It is utterly pointless setting immigration targets when you can’t even decide who comes in to this country.
“Until we end the open-door immigration policy with the EU and take back full control over our borders nothing can really be done. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”
Reuters contributed to this report