Pressure on the British government is mounting after the latest immigration figures showed net migration, the number of people arriving minus departures, rose to 606,000, up from 504,000 in the 12 months to June. countries. File photo by Will Oliver/EPA
May 25 (UPI) — The number of migrants arriving in Britain in 2022 jumped to a record 1,163,000, data released Thursday showed, with the biggest increase among people from outside Europe.
Net migration, the number of people arriving minus the number of people leaving, rose to 606,000 from 504,000 in the 12 months to June, boosted by the opening of the world, the end of COVID-19 restrictions and plans to offer asylum to people fleeing war and persecution in Ukraine and Hong Kong, the National Statistics Office said. office
The figures, which include first-time asylum seekers, show that nearly a million arrivals were non-EU nationals, while only 151,000 were from the EU. Britons returning from abroad accounted for less than 90,000 arrivals. 557 thousand have emigrated or are returning to their country.
“Many unprecedented world events in 2022. and the lifting of post-Covid restrictions has resulted in record levels of international immigration to the UK,” said Jay Lindop, director of the ONS International Migration Centre. Twitter post.
“The main driver of growth was people coming to the UK from non-EU countries for work, study and humanitarian purposes, including from Ukraine and Hong Kong.
Work-related arrivals from outside the EU almost doubled to 235,000 from 137,000 in 2021 as labor shortages bite, exacerbated by EU citizens leaving the country after Brexit and people not returning to the workforce after COVID-19. pandemic.
Around 52,000 people moved to Britain from Hong Kong last year on special visas offered to British overseas passport holders and their dependents after 2020. Beijing’s crackdown on freedoms and 114,000 Ukrainian nationals have come to Britain since the Russian invasion in 2022. February.
Successive leaders of the ruling Conservative Party have promised to cut immigration to “tens of thousands”, with “Taking control of our borders” a key Brexit goal.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the latest figures were “too high” but denied they were out of control.
“The numbers are too big, it’s that simple and I want to reduce them,” he said on ITV’s This Morning.
Calling the new figures “extraordinary”, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the doubling of work visas showed the Conservatives had “no plan and no control over immigration.
Sunak must have walked back Boris Johnson in 2019. committed until 2024 in the election campaign. to reduce migration to 250,000 by the end of the year, focusing on illegal migration, saying it was “definitely a priority for the country”.
Sunak has made stopping the small boats that brought more than 46,000 asylum seekers to British shores last year and ending long delays in processing their claims a cornerstone of his premiership.
But separate Home Office figures released on Wednesday showed the backlog of people waiting for a decision for more than six months rose to three-quarters of the total waiting list, by almost 20,000 to a record 128,812.
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