Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday showed that an estimated 504,000 more people migrated to the UK than left it over the past year, taking net migration to a record high. This is also a drastic increase over the previous year when net migration stood at 173,000 and smashes the previous record of 332,000 set in 2015.
In total, approximately 1.1 million people migrated to the UK during the recording period, driven in large part by growth in the number of arrivals of non-EU nationals, which rose from 379,000 in 2021 to 704,000 in the year leading up to June. Around 224,000 migrants from EU countries arrived, however, net migration from the bloc was actually negative with about 275,000 leaving the country during the same time period.
The ONS said that the increase in non-EU nationals coming to the country was driven in large part by resettlement schemes for refugees fleeing Afghanistan, Hong Kong, and Ukraine. The official statistician also noted, however, that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit immigration system was also a contributing factor.
Following Britain’s official departure from the European Union — which many Britons believed would mark the beginning of a more strict immigration regime — Johnson introduced a points-based immigration system supposedly modelled off of the Australian model, yet crucially, unlike the Commonwealth nation, Britain itself did not impose a hard cap on the number of yearly arrivals. Due to Johnson lowering the standards for arrivals, such as lowering the salary threshold, the plan effectively opened up avenues for hundreds of millions to attempt to reach the country.
The lax policy has seen the government issue a record 1.1 million visas to foreign nationals in the year leading up to June, compared to the pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit year of 2019 when approximately 720,000 visas were granted.
In comments provided to Breitbart London, Migration Watch UK chairman Alp Mehmet said: “Net migration of 504,000 is a truly breathtaking figure. It is also unprecedented and Migration Watch UK takes no comfort from it being just as we predicted. The hideously loose post-Brexit immigration system, the ease with which people can make their way to the UK and stay, and the appalling failure to remove those with no right to be here, have all contributed to this astonishing net migration figure.
“Will the Conservative and Labour leaders now accept that the level of immigration is damagingly high? And will the government tell us how they intend to bring it down?”
In the four decades leading up to the Millenium, net migration stood at either a negative number or within the tens of thousands. This changed in 1998 with the installation of the left-wing globalist government of Tony Blair under whose leadership net migration began to rise into the hundreds of thousands. This was only continued by the successive Conservative governments of David Cameron, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson.
The Conservative Party had long promised to bring net migration to the country “from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands,” however, in 2017, David Cameron’s right-hand man and former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, admitted that the party never had any intention of actually delivering that promise to reduce migration, even though they could, as the government believed that reducing immigration would damage the economy. Ultimately, the pledge was finally dropped in 2019 by Boris Johnson, but the election manifesto upon which he ran still promised that the government would reduce overall immigration.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has expressed a desire to revive the pledge, by cutting the number of student and family visas issued. However, it remains to be seen if Braverman will be able to out-manoeuvre finance minister Jeremy Hunt, who has argued that more immigration will be required to bolster economic growth — which is struggling as it is under the weight of the heavy tax burden imposed by Hunt and Prime Minister Sunak.
Responding to the net migration figures, Brexit leader Nigel Farage said: “These net migration figures are hard to take in. 500,000 is nearly double the previous record. The Tories deserve to be wiped out.”
Richard Tice, the leader of the right-wing populist Reform UK party, which is now rising in the polls, branded the government’s failure to reduce immigration as a “Brexit betrayal”, adding that the “Tories did not take control of borders but opened them: legal [and] illegal. Yet, big business [and] Labour want even more cheap overseas labour.”
For his part, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said during his failed bid to win the summer contest to replace Boris Johnson that he would seek to reduce migration. The government has admitted, however, that all pledges that Sunak made to the public just months ago are up for review and may not be fulfilled. Indeed, the Indian-heritage PM has already reportedly been pushing the idea of adding a “growth visa” to attract more foreign workers as well as potentially opening the door to more Indian migration as a part of the upcoming post-Brexit trade deal.
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