The key measure of immigration to the UK has reached a record high as soaring numbers of people flock to the country for work.
Estimated net migration was 336,000 in the year to June - a jump of 82,000, or a third, compared with the previous 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The surge in arrivals is being driven by a record influx of people arriving for jobs, while a dramatic rise in the numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians coming to Britain was also revealed in the data. Net migration – the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving – has now been at an unprecedented level for two consecutive quarters.
It is 16,000 higher than the previous peak recorded in the year ending June 2005, when enlargement of the European Union saw a surge in arrivals.
The findings sparked fresh questions about the government’s aim of reducing net migration to below 100,000.
The data showed that:
l Romania is now in the top five of countries where those coming to Britain previously lived for the first time. Estimates of the number of Romanian immigrants have increased by 127 per cent on 2013.
l A total of 50,000 Romanians and Bulgarians came to the UK in the year to June, a rise of 19,000 - or 61 per cent - compared with the previous year. Restrictions on citizens from the countries working in Britain were lifted in January 2014.
l Net migration of European Union (EU) citizens has increased 42,000 to 180,000, with the non-EU level up by 36,000 to 201,000.
l A total of 294,000 people came to the UK for work in the year to June, with nearly two in three (64 per cent) having a definite job to come to.
l Three quarters of the growth in employment over the last year was accounted for by foreign nationals.