Table: Easing Up--but Only a Little
Stepping up efforts to block illegal immigrants arriving via the Channel Tunnel and other routes. But accepted 125,000 legal immigrants last year, an increase of 80% since 1998.
Liberalized immigration law in 1997, boosting number of immigrants 40% last year, to 120,000.
Raised quota of non-EU nationals this year by 15%, to 83,000 slots. Business wants more, though anti-foreigner National League could block reform.
Likely to create its first system to encourage orderly immigration, with preference given to people with education and skills. Passage expected by early 2002.
Battling to stem flood of North Africans crossing Straits of Gibraltar in rickety boats. Yet illegal immigrants have helped fill low-wage jobs and fuel an economic boom.