David Cameron's hopes of limiting migration may actually be welcomed by some Eastern European countries.Read the full story ›
David Cameron will today meet European leaders for the first time since securing his re-election with a mandate to renegotiate Britain's EU membership then stage an in/out referendum.
The Prime Minister has said the summit in the Latvian capital, Riga, would see the start "in earnest" of negotiations which could determine whether the UK remains a member of the 28-nation bloc.
With the prospect that the recent General Election could have resulted in Labour-led government opposed to such a referendum, other EU leaders had been reluctant to have detailed discussions before May 7.
But with Cameron now firmly committed to staging a referendum before the end of 2017, they are likely to be anxious about establishing exactly what changes the Prime Minister seeks.
David Cameron's aim to reduce net migration to below 100,000 is "neither achievable not desirable", the Institute Of Directors said.
Simon Walker, director general of the Institute Of Directors, said the Government's target was "difficult to understand" and was "undermining faith in the whole system".
"By setting a target that is neither achievable not desirable, they have only undermined faith in the whole system," he said.
"International students and highly-skilled individuals from abroad bring substantial benefits to the UK, but business groups cannot have a tin-ear to the widespread public unease about immigration.
"Companies need migrants to be able to fill skills gaps, but that is a different issue to making sure immigration law is properly enforced, including cracking down on the small number of bad employers who break the rules."
David Cameron has told ITV News' Romilly Weeks that figures showing a marked increase in net migration show "how much work we have to do".
Asked whether he should abandon his target to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, Mr Cameron said: "Figures show how much work we have to do but the British people believe and I believe...that the number of people coming to our country has been too high and is too high and needs to be brought down."
The Prime Minister said cutting immigration was a priority for his new Government, pledging: "We are going to fix it."
In his speech at the Home Office, Mr Cameron confirmed police would be given the power to seize the earnings of illegal workers as part of his plans.
He also confirmed that he would chair a new "Immigration Taskforce" in order to "hold every part of government to account on our relentless drive to control immigration."
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary and Labour leadership contender, has accused David Cameron of "taking people for fools" after new figures showed a significant increase in net migration to the UK.
Ms Cooper said there was a "massive gap" between the government's "rhetoric" on immigration and the "reality".
She said: “David Cameron is taking people for fools. On the day he has promised yet again to cut net migration to the tens of thousands, these figures show it is over three times that target.
"This massive gap between rhetoric and reality, between promise and delivery, just destroys trust in anything Ministers say on immigration."
The Government has "catastrophically" failed to control immigration, Ukip has said.
After new figures showed net migration to the UK soared to 318,000 in 2014, Nigel Farage, the party's leader, said David Cameron's claim to be "pulling up the drawbridge" was "absurd".
Cameron's claim to be pulling up the drawbridge is absurd http://t.co/WToFDm2Y7E Net migration up again, now 318,000
Ukip's only MP, Douglas Carswell, said Government plans to strip illegal workers of their pay were "mad" and would "persecute a handful of illegal workers".
Ministers cannot control immigration. Yet these supposed "One Nation" leaders introduce rules to persecute a handful of illegal workers. Mad
Steven Woolfe, the party's migration spokesperson added: “Today’s government announcement on illegal migration is a smoke screen to mask today’s appalling immigration statistics.
"In almost every area, net migration, overall UK immigration, EU immigration, non-EU immigration, sham marriages, bogus students, overstayers; the government has failed catastrophically."
New figures show how difficult it will be for the Government to meet its pledge to cut net migration to the tens of thousands, analysts say.
The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said today's figures - showing a "statistically significant" increase - were the second highest on record.
Today's figures show how difficult it would be to reduce net migration to the 'tens of thousands'.
Net migration has risen even despite new restrictions on family, work and student visas that were introduced during the last parliament.
Net long-term migration into the UK surged to near record levels last year, new figures show.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said net migration increased to 318,000 in 2014, a "statistically significant" rise of more than 109,000 from the previous year.
The figure is just shy of the 2005-peak level of 320,000.
Confirmation of the rise came as the Government promised "radical" action to curb the number of illegal workers coming to the UK.
The news will come as a blow to Prime Minister David Cameron who previously promised to cut the number of people arriving in the UK to the tens of thousands.
The figures - measuring the number of people entering the country minus the number leaving - revealed:
Taking illegal workers' wages will make lives "more difficult" and would not help control immigration, a campaign group has warned.
"Confiscating wages, making people's lives more difficult is not the answer," Saira Grant, from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, told Good Morning Britain.
She also questioned the practicalities of the measure, particularly when taking the wages of people working cash-in-hand in low-paid work.
Earlier, Home Secretary Theresa May insisted the plan was "only fair" to British workers.