Prominent conservatives have expressed their outrage at Britain’s governing Conservative party that has overseen a record-high level of net migration at a staggering 504,000 in the year to June.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the total number of long-term arrivals into the U.K. for the reporting period was 1.1 million, with 560,000 emigrating out of the country long term.
According to the provisional stats, net migration rose from 173,000 in the year to June 2021, an increase of 331,000, and a figure more than 170,000 higher than the U.K.’s previous record of 331,000 at the peak of the migrant crisis in 2015.
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There are some mitigating factors as to why this period would be particularly unique, as outlined by Jay Lindop, the ONS’ director of the Center for International Migration, who commented:
“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 (Overseas), which have all contributed to the record levels of long-term immigration we have seen.”
As can be seen by the supporting graph below, long-term net migration into the U.K. has primarily been fueled by arrivals of non-EU nationals. The level of Brits returning home has remained at something of a constant in recent years, and EU immigration to the U.K. has slightly fallen.
The ONS explained in its published report that the largest factor contributing to the inflated figure is the return of overseas students after the Covid-19 pandemic, many of whom had been studying remotely. Added to this are the humanitarian issues witnessed in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Hong Kong.
“These 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,” Lindop added.
However, further exploration into the data shows that while study had been a growing factor for migration to the U.K., the figure had actually fallen slightly among non-EU nationals in the last reporting period, and those arriving for work had slightly increased. The significant factor contributing to the record-high figure was the ‘Other’ category, which caters for visas issued to Ukrainian refugees.
The BBC’s Home Editor Mark Easton wrote that “200,000 people are understood to have arrived from Ukraine.”
All of this has been experienced at the same time that more than 40,000 individuals have crossed the English Channel from the European mainland intent on claiming asylum in the United Kingdom.
Separate ONS data revealed that the U.K. now has a staggering 143,000 asylum claims outstanding, and 41,000 claimants have been waiting for between one and three years for a decision on their application.
“In one example of delays, new figures show that just 50 of 7,219 Albanians who arrived by small boats [during the reporting period] have received a decision on their claim for asylum,” reported the BBC.
In the year to September, a total of 73,000 asylum applications were submitted on British soil, showing that the already existing delays in processing claimants shows no signs of improving.
Prominent conservatives have been quick to leap on the figures as an example of a supposedly-conservative government losing control of its borders.
“These net migration figures are hard to take in,” tweeted Nigel Farage. “500,000 is nearly double the previous record. The Tories deserve to be wiped out.”
In a follow-up video, Farage said of the Conservative party: “They promised us in election after election they would get net migration down to tens of thousands a year.
“So, if you want a GP appointment, forget it. You want your kids to get a house? Forget it. You want to drive around the country on a Friday to go somewhere? Forget it — the roads will be full.
“Mass immigration into Britain running at record levels, diminishing the quality of our lives, and the integrity of our communities. This party is a disgrace!”
Richard Tice, the leader of the Reform UK party currently polling at around 6 percent, called the figures a “Brexit betrayal,” insisting the “Tories did not take control of borders but opened them: legal and illegal.
“Yet, big business and Labour want even more cheap overseas labor,” he added.
Independent body Migration Watch UK tweeted, “Such a rise is in line with our predictions of skyrocketing inflows due to the ridiculously loose post-Brexit immigration system.”
“A city the size of Liverpool. In a single year. Completely unsustainable,” added trade unionist and Brexit campaigner Paul Embery, while Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the influential conservative think-tank the Bow Group, called the figures “outrageous.”
Conservative MP James Daly warned Britain will pay “a very heavy price” for the record-high immigration levels in an interview with Talk TV.
On Wednesday, U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman admitted to MPs that the government has “failed to control our borders,” adding: “That’s why I and the prime minister are absolutely determined to fix this problem.”