Damning Whitehall figures revealed last night prove a shattering new blow to Labour’s open-door border policies.
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MORE than 1.3 million immigrants have been given the right to work and claim benefits in Britain since Gordon Brown promised “British jobs for British workers”.
Official statistics show that a total of 1,370,820 foreigners have been granted National Insurance numbers over the last two years. And the influx has continued despite hundreds of thousands of British-born workers losing their jobs in the recession and unemployment rising to 2.46 million.
Latest evidence of the collapse of Britain’s border controls will be a huge embarrassment to the Prime Minister following his now discredited vow to put British-born workers first.
And it raises fresh questions about Britain being a target for “benefits tourism”, with concerns that immigrants are using National Insurance numbers to get state pensions and other welfare handouts.
It is bound to intensify fury over continuing levels of mass immigration, which is tipped to send Britain’s population surging to more than 70 million within 20 years.
Last night, critics seized on the Department for Work and Pensions figures as confirmation of the “Britons first” sham. Shadow Communities Minister Sayeeda Warsi said: “This is yet another example of the chaos within the immigration system. These figures show that all the tough talk about protecting British jobs was just hot air. Clearly, judging from the Government’s own figures, Gordon Brown is delivering anything but.”
She added: “We can’t go on like this. We must bring immigration under control and improve the education and training of British workers.” National Insurance numbers are required by anyone wanting to work legally in Britain. They are also necessary for claiming welfare benefits and tax credits.
The Department of Work and Pensions figures – obtained by the Tories – confirm that over half a million newcomers every year are joining Britain’s employment and welfare system.
Nearly half of the overseas workers getting National Insurance numbers come from east European countries such as Poland and Lithuania. But the figures also show that more than 400,000 migrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East came to Britain between July 2007 and June last year.
Overall, a total of 4.1 million National Insurance numbers have been handed out to foreign workers since 2002, the figures reveal. Total net immigration to the UK increased from 51,000 a year between 1993 and 1997 to an average of 209,000 a year from 2004 to 2008.
Separate figures show that one in 13 workers in jobs in Britain are non-UK citizens, a total of around 2.2 million. And evidence suggests that growing numbers are settling in Britain for the long term and not returning home. Employment-related grants of settlement rose by 63 per cent to 60,770 in 2008 compared with 2007.
And the influx has continued apace despite Mr Brown vowing to finally get control of Britain’s borders after a decade of Labour failure. In his first party conference speech as Prime Minister in 2007, he vowed: “This is our vision: Britain leading the global economy, drawing on the talents of all to create British jobs for British workers.”
Last night Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: “We recognise the benefit to our economy and culture from immigration. We’re also very clear that it needs to be controlled.”
A Daily Express investigation recently uncovered dozens of web sites run by firms, based in eastern Europe, giving advice on the range of benefits on offer in Britain.
The firms, which have branches in Britain, even advertise that they can help negotiate bureaucratic red tape.
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