Home Office figures reveal the true picture of Turkish migration into Britain in the 21st century.
MORE THAN 50,000 Turkish nationals were granted UK citizenship in the last decade, according to new figures from the Home Office.
There has also been a significant drop in applications since 2010, when Britain’s coalition government came to power promising to reduce net migration from non-EU countries like Turkey.
The figures were obtained by Londra Gazete following a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
They show 4,235 Turkish passport holders applied for UK citizenship last year and that just 145 were turned away. The previous year, 2011, saw 4,385 applications for citizenship, a process known as “naturalisation”, of which 4,205 were granted.
In total, 47,985 Turkish passport holders have been granted UK citizenship since 2003. In the same period, 1,570 Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus citizens applied for naturalisation, of 1,360 were accepted.
Most foreign nationals over the age of 18 who have been living in the United Kingdom for the last five years can apply. They are required to meet certain other requirements – being of sound mind and good character, speaking an acceptable level of English and intending to continue living in the UK – before becoming eligible to apply.
The figures indicate success in a key coalition policy – reducing net migration into Britain to below 100,000 people each year – because they show a drop in the number of Turkish applications since 2010.
In 2009 – the last full year under a Labour government there were 6,175 Turkish applications for naturalisation. This fell by more than a third to 4,255 in 2010, when the coalition came to power, and has fallen gradually since.
There were just 1,915 applications by Turkish nationals for naturalisation in the year to June 2013, suggesting the total for the full year could dip below 4,000 for the first time since Tony Blair’s premiership.
NET MIGRATION INCREASE
But figures released in August by the Office for National Statistics showed that net migration rose in 2012 to 176,000 – up from 135,000 people in the year to September 2012.
“We are committed to bringing net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands,” Mr Harper told the BBC at the time.
“We are working across government to protect public services and ensure our welfare system is not open to abuse.”
T shadow immigration minister in the Labour Party, Chris Bryant, had said the figures were “a blow” to the home secretary.
“[Home Secretary] Theresa May’s focus on net migration, which has gone wrong in these figures, has also meant the government is failing badly on illegal immigration, which is a major concern to the public and is getting worse and worse with fewer people being stopped at the border, absconsions up and deportations down.
“Immigration needs to be controlled, but we must recognise there is immigration that works for Britain and immigration that doesn’t.”