ISE-SHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday that figures showing net migration at its second highest level on record were disappointing but that he expected the trend to change.
At a meeting of the G7 industrial powers, Cameron said people had been drawn to Britain because the economy had outperformed others in Europe for several years, a key issue ahead of next month’s EU referendum.
“The figures yesterday are disappointing,” he told a news conference.
“We’ve had a situation where for some years the British economy has been the growth economy, the job-creating economy in the European Union and I think that is one of the things that lies behind those figures.
“That situation is beginning to change because the other European economies are now beginning to grow.”
The Office for National Statistics, in its last immigration report before the June 23 vote on continued EU membership, said net migration hit 333,000 in 2015, the second-highest level for a 12-month period since records began in 1975.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by Kate Holton; editing by Elizabeth Piper)