New figures released today show the number of UK nationals in employment in the three months to December 2012 had risen by 521,000 compared to the same period in the previous year - a rise of two per cent, compared to 0.6 per cent between 2010 and 2011.
The Office for National Statistics found that over the same period, employment for non-UK nationals was 2.64 million, up 75,000 on the previous year. This represents an increase of 2.9 per cent compared to a 6.8 per cent rise between 2010 and 2011.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: ‘These figures show we are building a better immigration system that works in the national interest and is supporting growth. The rise in numbers in employment has benefitted British citizens first, but our system is still allowing skilled migrants to come to the UK where they are needed by British businesses.
‘This follows significant changes to the immigration rules, clamping down on bogus students who only came to the UK to work, often in low skilled jobs, while remaining open to the brightest and the best.
‘We have also seen falls in net migration and the number of visas issued is at its lowest since 2005. We will continue to work hard to ensure net migration is reduced from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament.’
Of the extra people in work over the last year, nearly nine out of ten are British. The figures show there are more people in work than ever before, with the number of people in employment rising by 154,000 to 29.7 million. All of the increase was in full-time work. The UK employment rate is now higher than in the United States and is well above that in the Eurozone.