Almost 140,000 immigrants settled in the UK last year, a fifth up on 2002.
Immigrants given settlement because of work doubled to 29,600.
Immigration: 90 million people passed through UK in 2003
But the number of students and people arriving on work permits declined slightly.
Although full figures will be released later in the year, the government's headlines figures for non-asylum immigration reveal a complex picture of movements of people.
Overall, more than 90 million journeyed through the UK at some stage in 2003, say the figures published by the Home Office.
Grants of settlement
Grants of settlement - a government decision to allow someone to permanently remain in the UK, rose by 20% over 2002 to 139,675 people. This represents the third year of increased settlement grants, after a fall between 2000 and 2001.
The majority of settlements (47%) were however for family reasons, with 65,800 people allowed to bring wives, husbands or children into the country.
This figure includes British citizens marrying people from abroad who subsequently gain permanent residential status.
Approximately 15% of those given permanent settlement had formerly been asylum seekers, given either refugee status or exceptional leave to remain.
Separately compiled figures, published earlier this year, revealed that 49,405 people (excluding dependents) applied for asylum in 2003, a status that does not necessarily lead to a right to stay.
People given settlement for employment reasons - typically foreigners who have worked in stable jobs in the UK for a long time - accounted for a fifth of the grants.
The number of people deported from the UK, including those who voluntarily left when required to do so, was 64,390, representing a 6% decrease on 2002.
The majority of these removals were people refused entry at port. A third were removed after "enforcement", including operations by immigration officials to apprehend over-stayers.
Some 13,000 people, a fifth of those removed, had sought asylum at some stage, the highest annual total on record.
The largest nationalities of principle applicants removed or departing voluntarily in 2003 were people from Serbia and Montenegro (2,300), Czech (1,095), Polish (750), Romanian (725) and Albanian (650).
Czech and Polish citizens are now allowed to live and legally work in the UK as their countries joined the European Union in May this year.
Students comprised 318,630 of those admitted to the UK in 2003 - 14% down on 2002. There were large falls in the number of students from Asia (excluding the Indian sub-continent), Europe and the Americas.
Within the work permit system, some 36,870 people were allowed entry to the UK for temporary work reasons, such as seasonal agricultural workers or working holiday-makers.
The number of husbands given a probationary year in the UK rose by 4% to 8,880. Husbands coming from the Indian sub-continent (typically India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) comprised half of the total, although the figure fell by 115 men.
At the same time, there were rises in the number of husbands coming from European countries (365 men) and African nations (105 men).
The number of wives given the same probationary status rose by 3% to 19,365.
Wives from the Indian sub-continent comprised 7,260 of this total, down 435 on the previous year.
There were rises in the number of wives arriving for a probationary year from other parts of Asia, the Americas and Europe.
The number of children allowed entry with a parent on probationary settlement rose 5% to 4,100.