Record net migration figure of over 500,000 driven by 'unprecedented world events'

ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand reports on the latest net migration figures and how British industry has been impacted

Net migration to the UK has climbed to a record half a million, 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).

Around 504,000 more people are estimated to have moved to the UK than left in the 12 months to June 2022, up sharply from 173,000 in the year to June 2021.

This is the highest net migration since the Second World War and is far higher than pre-Brexit levels.

Home Office estimates, meanwhile, indicate that around 89,000 Ukraine Scheme visa-holders arrived in the UK up to the year ending June 2022.

In response to the record figures, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said her office remains "committed to reducing migration over time".

Amy Lewis outlines the political reaction to UK net migration reaching a record half a million

She added: "We have welcomed hundreds of thousands of people to Britain this year following the devastating war in Ukraine, the evacuation from Afghanistan and the despicable crack down on democratic rights in Hong Kong.

“Therefore, it is understandable that we have seen a record number of people coming to our country thanks to the generosity of the British people."

“But the public rightly expect us to control our borders and we remain committed to reducing migration over time in line with our manifesto commitment. "

She also suggested that the current levels of migration had put pressure on accommodation and housing, health, education and other public services.

As ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand notes, overall immigration to the UK was 1.1 million, up 435,000 on 2021.

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.

ITV News Business and Economics Editor Joel Hills points out that the ONS stressed how, given recent and often unconnected international events, it has been difficult for them to confidently quantify arrival and departure numbers.

In reaction to the latest figures, Jay Lindop, Director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS, 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 (Overseas), which have all contributed to the record levels of long-term immigration we have seen."

He added that migration form non-EU countries, notably students, is driving the rise.

The government has promised to cut net migration and the latest ONS figures will put further pressure for them to do so if it is to be able to claim to have brought down numbers.

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