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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK
UK is 'top spot for EU migration'
Liberal immigration policies make the UK attractive to new EU joiners
The UK has been the top destination for immigrants from the 10 new European Union member states since the trade bloc expanded last year, a report says.

Germany's DIW Institute estimates that up to 150,000 people have migrated to the older members since May 2004.

Economic research group DIW found that more than 50,000 people had made their way to the UK over the past 12 months.

However, that figure is much lower than other estimates and the UK government puts the number closer to 130,000.

Fewer restrictions?

The EU took in 10 new members - Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus, Malta, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic - on 1 May, 2004.

At the time there were concerns that the expansion of the EU's borders would lead to a surge in both legal and illegal immigration.

The figures from the DIW are lower than many other estimates, especially regarding the UK where government figures released earlier this month show that about 130,000 nationals applied to work in Britain between May and December 2004.

About 123,000 successfully obtained work permits, the UK said.

According to DIW analyst Herbert Bruecker the discrepancy occurs because DIW figures are calculated in a different way from other reports.

The DIW based its estimate on the number of immigrants arriving in the UK who had never visited or worked in Britain before, he explained.

Regardless of earlier concerns, it seems that immigration has not hit the levels that many critics feared.

If anything, countries with more stringent immigration policies could be missing out on an influx of much needed professionals, the DIW report said.

Germany should relax its restrictions because qualified workers were among the first to emigrate and usually targeted countries with the most liberal immigration policies, Mr Bruecker recommended

The DIW said immigration restrictions made it harder to enter Austria, Germany and Italy than Britain.

Barriers still exist in larger EU
01 May 05 |  Business
The UK's new workers take stock
27 Apr 05 |  Europe
UK attracts few European migrants
29 Apr 04 |  Business

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