More than 345,000 migrants arrive after EU expansion

More than 345,000 migrants from eastern and central Europe have registered for employment in Britain since April last year, according to a government report.

The study was commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions after the number of benefit claimants rose by 90,000 in 2005.

But the report found no discernible statistical evidence to indicate that migrant workers had contributed to the rise in claimants.  

Britain was one of only three EU states, along with Ireland and Sweden, to immediately give access to migrants from eastern Europe, on the basis that they would fill gaps in the labour market.

The largest group of migrant workers came from Poland (204,895), followed by Lithuania (44,715) and Slovakia (36,355).

Tony McNulty, immigration minister, said workers from eastern and central Europe were filling important vacancies, supporting the provision of public services in communities across the UK and making a welcome contribution to our economy and society.

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