A RECORD 417,000 immigrants were given the right to live in Britain permanently last year, figures showed yesterday.

Of those, 203,000 were handed a British passport and full citizenship in 2009 - around one person every three minutes.

The number rocketed from 129,375 - a 58 per cent rise - in just a year.

Another 214,000 were given the right to settle in the UK - the first step to full citizenship.

This figure soared by 40 per cent over the 12 months.

The Home Office figures showed 29 per cent of those given a passport last year were from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. Another 27 per cent came from Africa and 17 per cent from Asia, including China and the Philippines.

Last year’s total was the highest since the figures were first published in 1962.