UK migration hits record high of 504,000 in the year to June, new figures reveal

24 November 2022, 10:47 | Updated: 24 November 2022, 11:47

Net migration has risen to a record level, new figures show
Net migration has risen to a record level, new figures show. Picture: ONS

By Asher McShane

Net migration to the UK hit 504,000 in the year to June, the highest level on record, driven by "unprecedented world events" including the war in Ukraine and the end of lockdown restrictions, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figure is a sharp increase sharply 173,000 in the year to June 2021.

Officials said the increase is driven by hundreds of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan, Hong Kong, and Ukraine being given the right to live in the UK.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has pledged to reduce net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’.

The estimates have been compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which described the period covered by the latest figures as "unique".

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Because there are a number of reasons behind the rise, many of them unconnected, it is too early to say whether the trend will continue.

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.

Jay Lindop, ONS deputy director of the centre for international migration, said: "A series of world events have impacted 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 following transition from the EU, the war in Ukraine, the resettlement of Afghans and the new visa route for Hong Kong British nationals, which have all contributed to the record levels of long-term immigration we have seen.

"Migration from non-EU countries, specifically students, is driving this rise. With the lifting of travel restrictions in 2021, more students arrived 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 range of other reasons. This includes people arriving for humanitarian protection, such as those coming from Ukraine, as well as for family reasons.

"The many factors independent of each other contributing to migration at this time mean it is too early to say whether this picture will be sustained."

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