Record numbers leaving Britain for new life abroad – as immigration to UK soars

Record number of British citizens are leaving the country, according to official figures published yesterday.

An unprecedented 196,000 left the country last year, with Australia, Spain, America, New Zealand and France the most popular destinations for those seeking a new life.

The exodus is countered by high levels of immigration, with the Office for National Statistics saying that 574,000 people came to live in Britain between June 2005 and 2006.

Overall, the population has risen by 349,000 to more than 60 million. The news came as it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers will be granted an ‘amnesty’ to live in Britain on human rights grounds.

Many have been waiting years to have their cases processed, meaning deporting them now would breach their right to a family life.

The ONS figures also showed the numbers arriving from Eastern Europe are still close to the boom levels seen after eight countries including Poland joined the European Union in the spring of 2004.

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