UK: Net Migration Reaches Record High of 500K

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration to the UK reached 504K in the year to June 2022 — a vast increase from 173K the same time the year prior.

UK: Net Migration Reaches Record High of 500K
Image credit: Al Jazeera

Facts

  • According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration to the UK reached 504K in the year to June 2022 — a vast increase from 173K the same time the year prior.
  • The increase is largely attributed to a series of "unprecedented world events," including the war in Ukraine, a new visa route for British nationals moving from Hong Kong, the resettlement of Afghan refugees, an influx of students from outside the EU, and the end of COVID lockdowns.
  • In response to the figures, Home Sec. Suella Braverman said her department is "committed to reducing migration over time."
  • The news will put pressure on PM and Conservative party leader Rishi Sunak, who has recently reiterated his commitment to reducing migration levels — a pledge that has long been central to the Tories' manifesto.
  • Students made up 39% (the largest proportion) of long-term immigration of nationals from outside of the EU, at 277K. Meanwhile, 276K non-EU migrants came on other kinds of visas, including on the basis of family, protection, settlement or visit, and humanitarian reasons.
  • The fresh figures exceed the previous record high for net migration of 330K in 2015 and come just months after Britain recorded the highest number of arrivals via small boats crossing the channel. Over 33K people took the route and successfully arrived in the UK between January and September.

Sources: Al Jazeera, ITV, Telegraph, and Metro.

Narratives

  • Right narrative, as provided by Breitbart. The Conservatives are failing to deliver Brexit or get a handle on immigration as the party is being sabotaged by its own senior members who can't even fulfill core right-wing pledges, such as reducing taxation. Its woeful execution has turned Brexit into little more than a farce — Brexiteers have been failed.
  • Left narrative, as provided by The Guardian. The Conservatives are not only failing their own voters by not delivering on election promises but also failing vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers. Criminal gangs are still profiteering from migrants driven desperate by the conservatives' mismanagement of the immigration and asylum systems. The backlog on asylum applications has exceeded 140K — this crisis is the direct result of years of poor Tory governance.
  • Cynical narrative, as provided by The Spectator (UK). While these figures are undoubtedly concerning, we need to be cautious not to give in to the sensationalist headlines, which fail to note the complexity of the numbers. A considerable portion of the increase was made up of students who, prior to Brexit, weren't required to obtain visas, and the remainder was largely caused by unique circumstances.

Predictions