Why are so many people moving to the UK?

1 year ago 68

LONDON – For years, Britain’s governing Conservative Party has pledged to restrict immigration, and a vow to “take back control” of borders and migration was a centerpiece of the Brexit campaign to leave the European Union.

Instead, immigration soared in 2022, according to national statistics released on Thursday – news that was somewhat embarrassing to party leaders, whose largely pro-Brexit voters had expected it to fall.

The new figures show that last year, net migration to Britain – people moving in minus those moving out – reached a record 606,000. That is a 24 per cent jump from 2021, and roughly double the rate of net migration in the years just before and after the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Migration is driven by a complex mix of domestic and global factors like war, job opportunities and politics.

So what do the numbers say about what is happening in Britain?

Violence and oppression fuel migration

From 2004 to 2017, about 600,000 people moved to Britain each year. In 2022, that figure jumped to 1.163 million, an all-time high and a figure that is unlikely to be matched soon.

There were big increases last year in the number of people fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine (more than 120,000 Ukrainians have moved to Britain since the war began in February 2022), the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and the growing crackdown on civil rights in Hong Kong. Britain has humanitarian visa programs specifically for those groups.

But those flows already show signs of subsiding. And some of last year’s surge might have been movement that would have occurred earlier but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, when migration d...

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