The UK saw record net immigration in 2022, with an additional 606,000 people, mostly from countries outside the European Union, according to figures from Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) released on Thursday.
“An unprecedented series of global events…and the lifting of restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in record levels of international immigration to the UK,” the ONS said in a statement. “The main drivers of this increase are people coming to the UK from non-EU countries for work, study or for humanitarian reasons, including those coming from Ukraine and Hong Kong,” adds the ONS. .
According to the Office’s estimates, in 2022 there were 1.2 million arrivals to the UK while 557,000 people left the country. Most people who arrived in the UK in 2022 came from non-EU countries (925,000). EU nationals are in second place, with 151,000 people.
These figures put pressure on the Conservative government which had promised to reduce immigration and “take back control of the borders” after Brexit.
“Everything shows that the government has completely lost control of our migration system,” Labor MP Stephen Kinnock, in charge of the immigration file, criticized on Sky News television.
Two days before the announcement of these record figures, the government announced its intention to drastically restrict family reunification for foreign students.
This measure, which will come into force in January, concerns all students “with the exception of postgraduate researchers”.
In 2022, around 136,000 visas were issued to dependents of foreign students, up from 16,000 in 2019, according to government figures.
“We have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of dependents of students arriving in the country on visas,” Suella Braverman, the far-right interior minister, said on Tuesday. She judged that the new measures represented a “fair balance” and would allow “in the medium term” to bring the migratory balance back to pre-Covid levels.
This article is originally published on arabnews.fr