The United Kingdom recorded record net immigration, estimated at half a million people, mainly from non-EU populations, in a post-pandemic context marked by the war in Ukraine.
According to UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates published on Thursday, the UK saw net immigration of 504,000 people between June 2021 and June 2022. This figure was up by 331,000 people from the previous year. . “A number of events around the world have affected migration patterns», «together they are unprecedentedsaid Jay Lindop, Director of the International Migration Center at the ONS.
Elements such as the fact that this is the first full period since they left the EU, the war in Ukraine, the reception of Afghan nationals or overseas passport holders who fled from Hong Kong have “all contributed to the record immigration levels we have seen“, she added.
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Immigration outside the EU is increasing
The increase in arrivals from non-EU countries, especially students after the lifting of travel restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic, or the arrival of Ukrainian refugees are all “factors independent of each other“which makes him “too early to tell if this image holds up“, she added. In detail, 39% of immigrants arrived on a student visa, 21% on a work visa.
In addition to legal immigration figures, the ONS estimates that 35,000 people crossed the Channel illegally during the period. Pressed on this delicate issue, far-right Home Secretary Suella Braverman admitted on Wednesday that the British government has “failed to control the borders“.
These figures are likely to fuel the already lively debate on immigration in the country, while controlling migration flows was one of the big promises of Brexit. Especially because another argument from the defenders of leaving the EU is increasingly being called into question. Economists now expect Brexit to have a major impact on Britain’s long-term economy, when its advocates saw it as a way to free it from European constraints.
On these two points, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said it was too early to have a final opinion. “People understand that if we want to reduce the need for immigration in the long term, we need to invest in skills“, he defended on Sky News.
The austerity budget announced last week will help “build another economy outside the EU, with a skilled workforce, high wages, the next Silicon Valley and with our own rules“, he insisted.
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