Long-term net immigration to the UK for the year to June 2022 hit a record high of 500,000, according to official figures released on Thursday.
of National Statistics Office (ONS) said an estimated 1.1 million people moved to the UK this year, 504,000 more than left the UK.
This is a steep increase compared to the year ending June 2021, when the long-term net migration was estimated at 239,000.
according to Analyzing ONS Data with Migration Observatorythe previous record was an estimated 379,000 in 2015.
Alp Memet, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said the “unprecedented” figures were “truly breathtaking” and prompted the government to come up with plans to bring down the level of net immigration.
“It would be hasty to base major policy decisions on these figures alone,” said Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, largely by international students and a special humanitarian visa program. said to be promoted.
Downing Street claimed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wanted to reduce the overall number, but said he “has not set a specific timeframe for that.”
2022 will be a ‘unique’ year: ONS
Long-term migration data include people who move to a country other than their usual country of residence for at least one year.
ONS said this year was ‘unique’ due to a number of ‘simultaneous factors’ such as continued travel recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, the new UK immigration regime after Brexit and several special visa programs for Ukrainian citizens. said it is. Citizens from Hong Kong (overseas) and Afghans fleeing Taliban rule.
ONS estimates the number of long-term immigrants to the UK has increased by 435,000 to 1.1 million. The increase was due to non-EU immigrants, who rose from 379,000 to 704,000, according to the Statistics Office.
The UK’s new immigration system will no longer allow EU citizens to travel to the UK without a visa from 1 January 2021, but liberalize immigration policies for skilled non-EU workers.
For the year ending June 2022, net migration of non-EU nationals was estimated at 509,000, while UK and EU citizens made a negative contribution to overall net migration.
It is estimated that about 51,000 more EU citizens have left the UK than have emigrated to the UK, and 45,000 more UK citizens have left than have returned.
Jay Lindop, director of the ONS at the Center for International Migration, said non-EU students were one of the drivers of the increase in immigration, but many said they were ‘humanitarian refugees such as those coming from Ukraine’. came for other reasons, including Including family matters. “
“These many independent factors contributing to immigration at this time mean it is too early to say whether this situation will persist,” Lindop said.
Sumption also argued that Britain’s new immigration system was not the driving force behind the surge in non-EU immigration, and said the figures should not be assumed to “represent the ‘new normal'”.
“The humanitarian route to Ukraine and Hong Kong and the recovery of international students played the biggest role in boosting immigration levels,” said the director of the Migration Observatory, adding that the Ukrainian visa program “is not expected to last indefinitely.” ‘ added. It is expected to rise in the next few years. “
Mehmet said the net migration of half a million people was “unprecedented” and “truly breathtaking”.
The chairman of Migration Watch UK said the “very lax post-Brexit immigration system, how easy it was for people to enter and stay in the UK, and the horrific failure to exclude those who had no right to be here” meant high Blame level immigration. “
He called on Conservative and Labor leaders to “accept” levels of immigration that were “harmfully high” and urged the government to come up with plans to reduce numbers.
Downing Street: Sunak wants to reduce net migration
Sunak’s official spokesman said the prime minister was “committed to reducing the overall number” and attributed the high number of immigrants to “unique and unprecedented circumstances”.
He said Home Office statistics showed Britain had secured the security of more than 144,000 people from Hong Kong, 144,600 from Ukraine and more than 22,000 from Afghanistan, adding: “The prime minister wants to reduce net immigration. but did not give a specific time,” he added. frame on it.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who scored a landslide victory in 2019 on a promise to “get Brexit done”, interpreted the Brexit vote as a call to control immigration, but some political experts say voters are net immigrants. He claims he wanted the number to be reduced.
Political science professor and author Erik Kaufman previously told the Epoch Times that Brexit voters who voted Conservative in 2019 will “see no picture” in 2024 if the government does not cut immigration. It will not show the
But businesses struggling amid rising costs and a tight labor market have put pressure on Sunak to increase economic immigration.
The prime minister on Monday rejected questions about whether to increase immigration, saying the end of the free movement of labor following Britain’s exit from the European Union would help “reconstruct public consent” in Britain’s immigration system. Immigration to build trust in “a system that allows corporations to access the best and brightest people in the world.”
The Conservative Party has suffered a series of blows in recent months in polls involving asylum and immigration, largely due to a rise in clandestine entries across the English Channel.
according to Latest YouGov Poll A report published on 14 November found that only 17% of respondents said the Conservative Party was the best party to deal with asylum and immigration, 6% behind Labor. More than half (52%) did not choose a major political party.
Home Secretary Suera Braverman, who resigned in September to replace Priti Patel and was reappointed by Sunak in October, told lawmakers on the Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday that the government “failed to manage” the border. added: The Prime Minister and I are absolutely determined to resolve this issue. “
Chris Summers and PA Media contributed to this report.