UK immigration
(Reuters)

A new survey has revealed that the number of Britons claiming benefits across European Union countries currently outweighs the number of immigrants from those respective countries that are receiving welfare in the UK - a stark contrast to government figures.

According to a survey conducted by the Guardian newspaper, responses from 23 of the 27 EU countries show that at least 30,000 British nationals are claiming unemployment benefit across the bloc.

The survey results compare data showing that, for example, the number of Britons claiming benefits in Germany, outnumber the amount of Germans receiving welfare in the UK.

Using the same method, the report says there are 23,011 Britons siphoning state welfare from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, France and Ireland. Meanwhile, nationals from those EU countries account for just 8,720 benefits claimants in UK.

The survey also shows "Italians, Spanish and Portuguese out of work in the UK outnumbering the unemployed Britons in those countries by 13,580 to 5,670".

"Thirty thousand people, or 2.5% of all British nationals, in other EU member states means that the overwhelming majority of Brits abroad as well as European citizens in Britain are not an undue burden for the countries in which they live," said Dr Roxana Barbulescu, researcher on international migration at the University of Sheffield, to the Guardian.

The Guardian survey only focuses on EU country comparisons and not that of non-EU regions.

Immigration to UK vs Britons migrating across 28 countries

Recently, the Office for National Statistics showed that immigration from across the world has soared by 1,200% since 1983, adding the equivalent of a small city to Britain annually.

The ONS showed that the last full year for which figures are available (2013), net migration stood at the equivalent of the population of Portsmouth at 209,000.

ONS figures also show the UK population has jumped 14% since 1980, reaching 64 million by 2013.

This is largely blamed on the migration surge, which accounted for 75% of the population growth by 2005.

Polish and Indian nationals make up the greatest proportion of immigrants in Britain.

Official figures on immigrant benefits

There are around 2.7 million EU nationals in Britain alone but only 1.3 million UK citizens living across 28 EU member states.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HMRC figures for 2013 show that 302,000 working age benefit claimants of tax credits were EU citizens and 413,000 were from outside of the UK.

DWP figures also show that the number of immigrants receiving working age benefits also increased in the last five years to 395,000, from 288,000 in 2008.

Meanwhile, Whitehall data show that the number of EU working age benefit claimants overall doubled from 65,000 to 130,000, between 2008 and 2013, which is in contrast to the Guardian's figures.