London: The British government is considering reducing the number of immigrants from non-European countries, including India, from where Britain receives the highest number of migrants.
In April, the government will introduce rules to cap visas for less skilled workers from outside Europe to 21,700 next year, a reduction of a fifth. A consultation on how to cut the number of student visas is under way, the Daily Mail reported.
According to the latest figures, immigration from Asia, Africa and the Americas have reached 307,000 annually, as compared to 284,000 migrants received by Italy and the 238,000 who went to Germany.
The figures, which cover 2008, show that Spain took 499,000 non-EU migrants. The only country that takes more non-EU immigrants than Britain now is Spain, the European country of choice for most Latin Americans.
"This shows why the government is committed to reducing net migration to sustainable levels from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands within the lifetime of this Parliament," Immigration Minister Damian Green was quoted as saying.
"We have already introduced a limit on non-EU economic migration and throughout 2011 we will be introducing further controls across the board to affect every immigration route. We will exert steady downward pressure on immigration numbers, which is the sensible way to deal with the uncontrolled immigration system we inherited."
Last week, a Whitehall survey showed four out of five people want to see immigration reduced and more than half the population want to see immigration cut "a lot".
The figures from Eurostat, the European Union's statistics department, show only four member states accepted more than 100,000 immigrants from outside the EU in 2008.
The country outside the EU from where the most people came to Britain in 2008 was India, at 47,000.
In that year, 165,000 people arrived in Britain from Commonwealth countries and 142,000 from other non-EU nations. The most recent statistics show 303,000 people came to Britain from outside the EU in 2009.
First Published: Friday, January 21, 2011, 13:50