Al Jazeera, November 24, 2022
Net migration to the United Kingdom has climbed to a record half a million, driven by a series of “unprecedented world events”, including the war in Ukraine and the end of lockdown restrictions, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
About 504,000 more people are estimated to have moved to the UK than left in the 12 months to June 2022, up sharply from 173,000 in the year to June 2021.
Other factors contributing to the jump include the resettlement of Afghan refugees, the new visa route for British nationals from Hong Kong, and students arriving from outside the European Union.
A total of 1.1 million people are likely to have migrated to the UK in the year to June, the majority – 704,000 – from outside the EU.
By contrast, 560,000 people are estimated to have migrated from the UK in the same period, almost half of them – 275,000 – going back to the EU.
The imbalance means that, while far more non-EU nationals are likely to have arrived in the UK than left during these 12 months, the reverse is true for EU nationals, with more leaving than arriving.
Concerns over the effect of immigration were one of the big drivers behind Britain’s vote to leave the EU in 2016, with then-Prime Minister David Cameron repeatedly pledging to get net migration levels below 100,000 a year.
The previous record high for net migration was just above 330,000 in 2015.