With weeks to go before British voters decide whether to leave the European Union, the government reported that people continue to flock to the U.K. from the Continent.
New figures released Thursday by the government show that net migration into Britain surged last year.
The report added political fuel to the fire of a contentious "Brexit" debate that has pitted Britons who want to regain independence from Europe against those who warn that leaving the EU would deal a blow to the British economy.
A separate report Thursday showed that the island nation's economy is already slowing, likely because of uncertainty over the outcome of the national referendum scheduled for June 23.
U.K. gross domestic product slowed to just four-tenths of a percent in the first quarter of this year, down from six-tenths percent in the fourth quarter of last year, to the slowest rate since the fourth quarter of 2012.
If voters next month decide to leave Europe's political and economic bloc, most analysts are forecasting an even sharper slowdown. IHS Global Insight's chief European economist, Howard Archer, said in a recent note to clients that the firm's GDP forecast would be cut from 1.8 percent to 1.4 percent for all of 2016, and next year's growth forecast "could well be taken down from 2.4 percent to 0.8 percent."
"There is a very real risk that the economy may not bounce back that well in the second half of 2016 — even if there is a vote to stay in the EU," he said.