Saturday, May 29, 2010

Indians top list of new UK citizens

London: The David Cameron government is committed to reduce migration from non-EU countries like India after official figures showed that Indians topped the list of of people who acquired British citizenship in 2009.

After the figures were released, Damian Green, immigration said: “These figures illustrate the scale of the immigration challenge facing the new government. It is now our duty to control immigration for the benefit of the UK, and that is what I am determined to do”.
Of the top 10 nationalities whose citizens acquired British citizenship in 2009, Indians numbered 26,535, which amounted to 13 per cent of the total number of people who became British citizens, and a 124 per cent rise from the previous year. Pakistan citizens were second in the list of people acquiring British citizenship with 20,945, and Bangladesh third with 12,040.
Persons whose previous nationality was from countries in the Indian sub-continent constituted the largest single regional group with 29 per cent (59,520) of all grants in 2009, the figures show.
Green said: “I believe that immigration has been far too high in recent years, which is why we will reduce net migration back down to the levels of the 1990s — to tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands”. Green announced that over the coming weeks and months, “the public will see us tackle this issue head-on by introducing a wide range of new measures to ensure that immigration is properly controlled, including a limit on work permits, actions on marriage and an effective system of regulating the students who come here.”
The new coalition government has announced that placing a cap on numbers of migration from outside the European Union is one of its first priorities of its immigration policy. The proposed cap, however, has been opposed by sections of British trade and industry who believe that business and economy will suffer due to their inability to recruit people with the right skills.
Campaign groups such as the Highly Skilled Migrants Forum have also announced that the proposed cap will be unworkable and was likely to face legal challenges.
More than 200,000 foreign nationals became British citizens last year, with Indians heading the list, followed by people from Pakistan and Bangladesh. “Of those receiving a British passport, more than half came from Africa and the Indian subcontinent, with a surge from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh”, the Home Office said. The figures show that 1.5 million migrants have been given a passport since Labour took office in 1997.
The level of applications in the first three months of this year was slightly higher than in the same period last year, indicating that there is little prospect of a decline. Last year’s figures — the highest since records were first published 47 years ago — climbed thanks to a combination of factors including a backlog caused by moving staff from decision-making to administrative roles. Another cause was the clamour to apply for citizenship before rules linking it to earnings, skills and education take effect.

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