UK net migration hits record high amid government efforts to reduce arrivals

Net migration to the United Kingdom has reached a record high, as the government grapples with reducing the number of arrivals. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) disclosed that 606,000 people arrived in 2022, marking a 24% increase compared to the previous year. In 2015, just before the Brexit referendum, net migration stood at approximately 330,000.

Jay Lindop, director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS, explained that the primary factors for the increase were individuals arriving from non-EU countries for work, study, and humanitarian reasons, including those from Ukraine and Hong Kong. The latest figures have led to tensions within the ruling Conservative Party, as numerous right-wing politicians argue that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is not adequately controlling the borders.

Nando Sigona, a social scientist and head of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) at the University of Birmingham, discussed migration flows, political disputes, and the need for foreign workers. He highlighted the changing profile of those arriving in the UK and the worsening conditions and rights they face.

Sigona explained that the impact of Brexit on the mobility from the European Union has been significant, with a substantial reduction in the number of EU citizens coming to Britain. This has led to more Europeans leaving the UK than arriving, affecting various sectors, including economic migration and international students.

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Under new rules designed to curb immigration levels, foreign students can no longer bring their families to the UK. While this may have an effect, Sigona believes it will not be significant and that the UK risks becoming a less welcoming place for international students compared to countries like Australia, Canada, and the US.

Furthermore, Sigona emphasised the need for migrant workers in the UK, especially after Brexit and COVID-19. He expressed concern that the living conditions for new migrants are much worse than before, as the new mechanism has created a second-class group of workers who are more exploitable.

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Matthew Coles

Matthew is a British journalist with a unique flair in reporting about the latest news and events happening in Europe. Matthew focuses on producing well-researched, balanced, and narrative-driven content related to both national and regional interests across various European countries. He is passionate about discovering the diverse cultures found within Europe and showcasing them through his insightful articles.

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