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UK net migration climbed to a record 500,000 in June. Migration News

The sharp increase in people moving to the UK is driven by an increase in the number of non-EU citizens.

Net migration to the United Kingdom has reached 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).

Around 504,000 more people are forecast to leave in the UK in the 12 months to June 2022, up sharply from 173,000 in June 2021.

Other factors contributing to the boom include the resettlement of Afghan refugees, a new visa route for British citizens from Hong Kong, and students from outside the European Union.

A total of 1.1 million people are expected to emigrate to the UK in the year to June, the majority – 704,000 – from outside the EU.

In contrast, 560,000 people are estimated to have emigrated from the UK over the same period, almost half of them – 275,000 – going back to the EU.

The imbalance means that, while non-EU citizens are more likely to arrive in the UK during these 12 months, the opposite is true for EU citizens, with more leaving than arriving.

pattern change

Jay Lindop, ONS Deputy Director of the Center for International Migration, said: “A series of world events have affected international migration patterns in the 12 months to June 2022. Taken together these were unprecedented.

“These include the end of lockdown restrictions in the UK, the first full period since the transition from the EU, the war in Ukraine, the resettlement of Afghans and the new visa route for Hong Kong British citizens, which have contributed to record levels. We have seen long term migration.

“Migration from non-EU countries, particularly students, is driving this growth. With the lifting of travel restrictions in 2021, more students arrive in the UK after studying remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, there has also been a large increase in the number of people migrating for a number of other reasons. These include those coming for humanitarian protection, such as those from Ukraine, as well as for family reasons.

“The many factors independent of each other contributing to migration at this time mean that it is too early to say whether this picture will persist.”

Brexit

Concerns over the impact of immigration were a major factor behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016, with then-prime minister David Cameron repeatedly pledging to get net migration levels below 100,000 per year.

The previous record high for net migration was slightly above 330,000 in 2015.

Separate figures released by the British government on Thursday showed 33,029 people arrived on small boats between January and September this year, with 61 per cent of those arriving in the summer months of July to September.

The month of August marked the highest number of small boat arrivals in any month since the data was collected.

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