London, Nov.26 (ANI): British Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to reduce the number of migrants entering the country has come unstuck with figures showing a rise in immigration levels during the past three years.
Cameron had earlier this week pledged to reduce net immigration to the "tens of thousands" by 2015, but the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics show numbers are moving in the opposite direction.
Some 215,000 more people arrived than left in the 12 months to March this year, a sharp rise on the net migration figure of 163,000 in the year to December 2008.
According to The Telegraph, the main reason behind this is a 10-year low in the number of Britons leaving the UK, a trend the government has no control over.
The number of Britons leaving the country, from 173,000 in 2008 to 140,000 last year - the lowest level since 1999. eparate figures show the number of foreigners granted settlement has also hit a record high.
Most of that was due to fewer Britons going abroad to look for work, which is unlikely to change during the slow recovery of the world's economies.
There has also been a fall in the number of EU citizens returning home, another group ministers cannot control.
Home Secretary Theresa May had announced the country's first ever cap on migrant workers earlier this week and launched a review of student visas, all aimed at cutting numbers and meeting the government pledge.
The task of cutting foreign student numbers is also increasingly hard after separate figures show 355,065 students were given visas in the last year - a rise of 16 per cent on the previous 12 months.
The review of student visas will focus on curbing the numbers allowed to attend private colleges to study non-degree courses.
Other figures released by the Home Office showed the number of people granted settlement in the UK increased to a record high of 238,950 after increasing by 35 per cent.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of campaign group MigrationWatch UK, said: "These new figures confirm the massive impact that immigration is having on our population.
He added: "This fully justifies the Government's efforts to get our immigration system under control - a policy that the public overwhelmingly support." (ANI)