The Office of National Statistics claims net migration dipped slightly. The data has stimulated further debate about UK borders.
The ONS published data suggesting that net migration in the UK has dipped from its all-time-high of +330,000 back in mid-2015, down to +323,000.
Of the 617,000 people who entered into the UK, at least 257,000 were EU-citizens. Another 273,000 arrivals were from non-EU countries.
About half of the people who entered the UK during this period came for work-related reasons, or to study, according to the figures.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage seized on the information and took to Twitter.
Claim by PM that net migration below 100k possible inside EU totally laughable. Just look at his record. Record high numbers inside EU!
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 25, 2016
Mr Farage gave a rough estimate for the preferred level of net migration that UKIP would aim for in an interview with Journalist, Ross Hawkins.
How many migrants does UKIP think should be let into UK? Nigel Farage tells me net migration should be 30,000 a year, tenth of current total
— Ross Hawkins (@rosschawkins) February 25, 2016
The new data has added to the EU referendum debate. The referendum is to take place on 23rd June.
But Mr Farage’s tweet relates back to an old policy pledge by the Conservatives.
In 2010, the Conservatives pledged to reduce net migration down to the “tens of thousands a year”.
When the Conservatives held their annual conference in October 2015 however, Theresa May hesitated from setting a specific target, during her speech.
She simply stated that “Britain does not need net migration in the hundreds of thousands every year”
The “Welfare and Immigration” page on the party’s website also omits any mention of the original +100,000 target.