A decrease in the number of foreign students coming to the UK has led to a sharp drop in net migration to the UK.
Immigration to the UK fell from 589,000 to 515,000 in 2012 - the lowest figure since 2003, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Net immigration - the number of people coming to Britain, minus the number leaving, dropped by a massive 74,000 to 163,000.
The ONS figures also reveal there was a 17% decrease in foreign student arrivals to the UK.
The government has pledged to bring the net migration figure to below 100,000 before the next election in 2015 and have introduced stringent measures that target bogus students and colleges.
Mark Harper, the Immigration Minister, said: “Our tough reforms are having an impact in all the right places – we have tightened the routes where abuse was rife and overall numbers are down as a result.
“But sponsored student visa applications for our world-class university sector are up and the numbers of skilled people being sponsored by UK employers in sectors such as IT and science have also increased.
“We will continue to work hard to bring net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament and to create a selective immigration system that works in our national interest.”
Education remains the most common reason for immigrants to the UK, with nearly 200,000 students receiving visas in 2012.
The number of immigrants from New Commonwealth countries, including in Africa and the Indian sub-continent, decreased some 30% to a total of 117,000 new arrivals.
- UKAsian Staff