THE latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have revealed the extent of immigration into Boston in the past year.
Almost 2,500 people (2,470) from overseas registered for National Insurance numbers to allow them to work in the borough between March 2010 and March 2011 – the highest number to do so in the past nine years.
The percentage of migrant workers in the town and surrounding areas is one of the highest in the UK outside London, standing at between six and eight per cent.
Epton Employment Services, on Tattershall Road, has been providing English lessons for migrant workers in a bid to help them with basic work language.
A spokesman for the company said: “They are very keen to learn. If I could do lessons every day of the week they would come.
“The majority of them come here to settle and to work and many of them are very hard working. They don’t come to work the system.
“They do have a positive effect on the local economy. If you go to any of the factories in this area the majority of people working there will be migrant workers.”
Numbers of migrant workers in factories, pack-houses and farms in the area have shot up in recent years, as more than 2,000 migrants have been registering to work in the area in each of the past five years. Many of them have come from Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, according to statistics.
The DWP said it believed many people were heading to the UK from these countries to escape poor economic climates in their own countries.
Unemployment in Boston remains at only around three per cent.
Despite the number of those in work, some are having trouble finding jobs and homes.
In the past year Boston Borough Council has helped 72 people return back to their countries after their time in the UK did not work out as they had planned.
A council spokesman said those who went home did so by choice.
The rise in the number of migrants is in line with the UK. The number of immigrants has increased by 23 per cent since last year.
Migrants coming to the UK from Europe increased by 31 per cent to 376,000 in 2010/10.
Boston saw an increase of 300 people compared to 2009/10.
The town has seen at least 2,000 migrants registering to work since 2005/06. The figure the previous year rose from 460 for 2003/04 to 1,380 in 2004/05.