Thursday, May 22, 2008



The number of migrants granted UK citizenship reached an all-time record of 160,000 foreigners were granted citizenship last year, the equivalent of one every three minutes

But, while increasing numbers of foreign nationals opt to make a new life in Britain and naturalise their status here, UK citizens are heading abroad in record numbers.As separate figures revealed more than 200,000 Britons moving abroad.

Nearly one in three went to live in Australia or New Zealand. A quarter went to Spain or France, and around one in 12 went to the United States.

The rising rate of emigration meant that nearly 1.6 million Britons left the country to live abroad between 1997 and 2006.

The increase in the number of passports being given out comes despite Government attempts to make it harder for migrants to 'earn' the right to live here permanently.

At the end of 2005, the controversial 'Britishness' test was introduced - forcing foreign nationals to take a short multiple-choice quiz before citizenship was granted.

It was predicted this would lead to a drop in numbers, but while there was a small fall in the number of grants made in 2006 - the first full year of testing - last year the total number of migrants having their cases approved surged by seven per cent.

It pushed the total beyond the 2005 record of 161,700 to the new all-time high. In 1997, when New Labour was first elected, only 37,010 passports were handed out…dailymail

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