by RAY FLEMING
THE Independent newspaper, which specialises in unconventional front pages, had a nice idea yesterday. Above the bold topical headline “Migration Watch” was this: “Astounding new figures show record numbers of migrants are crossing the worid in search of better lifestyles. Should they be welcomed? Are they parasites? Or should they all go back to where they came from?*” The asterisk was a reference to a footnote: “That's Britain, by the way.” The UK Office of National Statistics has recently released figures showing that 207'000 British citizens left the country for good in 2006. Spain, the most popular destination in Europe attracted 29'000 with France close behind at 27'000. But Australia was overwhelmingly the most favoured destination for emigrating Britons, attracting 52'000. These totals have been published before but without the detail that makes them so interesting. Taking into account all nationalities some 400'000 people left Britain while 591'000 arrived. The Institute for Public Policy Research commented: “The figures suggest the UK is seeing revolving turnstiles and not overrun flood gates.” The number of foreign students in Britain last year was a record 157'000 (including more than 50'000 Chinese, the largest group, followed by 16'000 Indians), each one of which is reckoned to be worth 15'000 pounds to Britain in fees and living expenses. By contrast only 19'000 people left Britain last year to study overseas, a figure that has been steady for several years.

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