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UK annual migration stock hits record 500,000 – 11/24/2022

By Farooq Sulaiman and Sachin Ravikumar

LONDON (Reuters) – Net migration to Britain reached about 504,000 people in the year to June, official data showed on Thursday, a rise in the number of non-European Union nationals.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the recovery in travel after the Covid-19 crisis and an increase in the number of international students studying at a distance during the pandemic contributed to the increase.

1.1 million long-term migrants arrived during the period, 435,000 more than the previous year. A large proportion of those leaving the UK were EU citizens.

Three new visa schemes – for Ukrainian, Afghan and British citizens of Hong Kong – added about 138,000 to the number of arrivals.

“A series of global events affected international migration patterns in the 12 months to June 2022. Together, they are unprecedented,” said Jay Lindop, Director of the Center for International Migration at the ONS.

“Migration from non-EU countries, especially students, is driving this increase,” Lindop added. “The many mutually independent factors contributing to migration at this point indicate that it is too early to say whether this picture will persist.”

Concerns about the impact of immigration were a key driver of the UK’s 2016 vote to leave the EU. At the time, then Prime Minister David Cameron had been unable to achieve a migration balance of less than 100,000 a year for several years.

The ONS said the immigration and net migration figures, which do not include those who arrived via clandestine routes such as small boats across the canal, were the highest since they began collecting migration figures in 1964. The previous record for migration was over 330,000. 2015.

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Rishi Sunak’s spokesman said the Prime Minister was “absolutely” on reducing the overall number.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Farooq Sulaiman)