LONDON (AP) — Official figures show some 212,000 more migrants moved into Britain than left in the 12 months that ended in September, with the number of Romanians and Bulgarians increasing dramatically.

The net migration figure represents an increase over the previous 12 months when some 154,000 more people arrived than left.

The quarterly figures released Thursday by the independent Office for National Statistics show the difficulties the government is facing in getting immigration down.

The statistics office also found that the number of Romanians and Bulgarians who arrived in Britain rose to 24,000 arrived against 9,000 the previous year in advance of the year-end lifting of work restrictions.

Immigration has become a sensitive political issue in Britain ahead of this May's elections to the European Parliament.