29/11/2012 06:24 GMT

UK Net Migration Falls By A Quarter After Reduction In Foreign Students Coming To Britain

Net migration to the UK went down by a quarter (25%) over the last year, official figures released on Thursday showed.

The number dropped to 183,000 in the year to March this year, compared to a figure of 242,000 for the year to March 2011, according data from the Office of National Statistics.

The period saw 536,000 people come to the UK, whereas 578,000 immigrated here the previous year.

Meanwhile, the number of people leaving the country increased, with 353,000 people emigrating over the same period compared to 336,000 the previous year.

It is the biggest decrease in net migration since 2008 and was driven by significant reductions in the number of people coming to a study and work in the UK.

Sarah Mulley, Associate Director at IPPR, said we could see migration rise again in two years.. "Steps to reduce abuse of the student visa system are welcome, but if the government’s net migration target is to be met, they also need there to be a dramatic fall in the numbers of genuine foreign students," she warned in a statement released on Thursday.

"The irony is that the impacts on net migration will only be short-lived because most students stay only for a short time. Reduced immigration today means reduced emigration in a year or two’s time, which could see net migration rise again.”

Prime Minister David Cameron responded to the numbers by tweeting: "Today's figures show we are reducing net migration.

"Effective immigration helps us compete in the global race."