Thu 25 May 2023:
UK’s net migration rose to 606,000 in the year ending December 2022, breaking the previous record of 504,000 in the year ending June last year, according to official data provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday,
The annual tally of people entering the UK is known as net migration, which takes into account both immigration and emigration.
“Total long-term immigration was estimated at around 1.2 million in 2022, and emigration was 557,000, which means migration continues to add to the population with net migration at 606,000; most people arriving in the UK in 2022 were non-EU nationals (925,000), followed by EU (151,000) and British (88,000),” the ONS said.
Contrary to expectations, the actual net migration figure falls considerably.
While consensus estimates and certain reports projected the numbers as high as 700,000 or even close to 1 million, the recorded value remains approximately three times greater than what the Conservative Party had pledged in their 2019 manifesto (migration would fall below 250,000).
The government has stressed that many recent arrivals are refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan and Hong Kong. The proportion of people arriving via humanitarian routes increased from 9% to 19% in 2022, compared to the year before.
Legal migration is a contentious issue within the Conservative party. It comes as the government seeks to boost tepid economic growth and ease tightness in the labor market, which is causing challenges for businesses and driving up wages at a time of sky-high inflation.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he wants net migration below 500,000, around the level it was when he took office last fall.
However, he has clashed with his more hardline interior minister, Suella Braverman, over some proposed measures to bring down the numbers. Sunak has also stressed that migrant workers are essential to sectors including the National Health Service.
On Tuesday, Braverman’s department announced restrictions on student visas, the largest source of migration to the U.K. Only post-graduate research students will be able to bring family members with them to the country under the new rules.
The Home Office also said it would ban people “from using a student visa as a backdoor route to work in the U.K.” by preventing them from switching visa types until their studies are finished, and reviewing checks on their proof of funds.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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