Despite Brexit promises, net immigration hit record highs in 2022 in the UK. Nearly 606,000 people have arrived in Britain, figures putting pressure on the Conservative government, which had promised to reduce the flow of migrants and “regain control of the borders. “The figures are too high, it’s as simple as that and I want to bring them down,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reacted on ITV television on Thursday, a few minutes after their publication by the National Statistics Office. British (ONS).
According to the ONS, “the main drivers of this increase are people coming to the UK from non-EU countries for work, study or on humanitarian grounds, including those from Ukraine and Hong Kong. “. “A series of unprecedented global events (…) and the lifting of restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in record levels of international immigration to the UK”, explains the Office of Statistics. In 2021, net immigration amounted to 488,000 people, compared to 606,000 in 2022.
Lack of manpower
At the same time, the UK faces labor shortages, particularly in agriculture and health, creating regular tensions among the majority.
British companies have been calling for months for relaxation of UK visa policy, hotels and restaurants, road transport companies or farms. Rishi Sunak recently admitted that he would have to grant tens of thousands of seasonal agricultural visas, appearing to go against his interior minister. The question of immigration and border control is already shaping up to be a sensitive subject for the legislative elections expected next year.