Net migration to the UK fell by a third in the year ending June 2012, compared with the previous 12 months, the latest immigration figures show.

The Office for National Statistics said 163,000 more people came to live in the UK for 12 months or more than left, compared with 247,000 the year before.

The ONS says the fall has been driven by a decline in immigration – down from 589,000 to 515,000.

Ministers want to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands” by 2015.

According to the ONS, there was a fall in the number of migrants from new Commonwealth countries – 117,000 compared with 168,000 the previous year – and those from EU accession countries, including Poland – 62,000 compared with 86,000 the previous year.

Some 197,000 migrants arrived to study – compared with 239,000 the previous year – although study remains the most common reason stated for migrating to the UK.

The previous set of figures – to the end of March 2012 – showed net migration was 183,000.


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