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Indians largest migrant group in UK

world Updated: May 23, 2008 14:30 IST

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Indians have turned out to be the largest group of immigrants, who have been granted British citizenship during 2007, according to the official figures released this week.

Last year, a record numbers of foreign nationals, 164,635 people, were granted citizenship, a seven per cent rise in 12 months. It was the highest since the Home Office began keeping comparable records in 1997, the figures reveal.

The biggest group was from India, who made up nine per cent of the total with 14,490. Filipinos constituted seven per cent with 10,840, Afghans six per cent with 10,555 and South Africans five per cent with 8,150.

A quarter of citizenships, about 41,000 were given to children, while about 29,000 became British nationals through marriage.

Last year, 160,980 people applied for citizenship while 14,725 applications were rejected.

According to the Home Office the reasons for increase in 2007 were not clear but suggested that speedier decision making had reduced the backlog of applicants.

While record numbers of people took citizenship, separate figures released by the Office of National Statistics showed that a record 400,000 people have left Britain in 2006, of which more than half were British citizens.

Of these, almost one-third went to live in Australia and New Zealand, a quarter to Spain or France and about one in twelve to the US.

An estimated 591,000 people came to Britain, resulting in net immigration in 2006 running at 191,000. Net immigration of New Commonwealth citizens was 115,000. It was the highest of all foreign citizenship groups coming to the country.

Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans made up 80 per cent of net migrants, with London being their most common destination, where they intended to stay.