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Migration continues to rise

1 December 2023

Passport control, London Heathrow Airport. The great majority of migration to Britain is by legal routes. Photo Erica Fischer via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Despite government rhetoric and bluster over dealing with illegal migration, the number of people coming to Britain by all routes continues to rise. And the government is unable to either record the number correctly or to keep tabs on asylum seekers.

The Home Office has no idea where most of over 17,000 asylum seekers whose applications were withdrawn have gone, according to evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on 29 November.

Record numbers

The latest net migration statistics show that net migration for June 2023, the difference between the number of people migrating to the UK and the number emigrating, had reached 672,000. The Office for National Statistics also disclosed that its estimate for net migration for the year to December 2022 was too low. It was originally stated as 606,000; in reality it turned out to be 745,000 – the highest figure on record.

In 2010 net migration stood at 294,000, back in 1997 it was 107,000. The number of illegal migrants arriving in Britain is rising too – from an estimated 13,000 in 2018 to over 52,000 in 2022. That’s a sharp increase which brings problems, but the numbers arriving legally are far greater.

‘The country of origin has changed.’

A major change is in the country of origin of immigrants. Ever since 2019 the number of immigrants from EU countries has fallen, but the numbers from non-EU countries have hugely increased. The top five nationalities in the year ending June 2023 are Indian (253,000). Nigerian (141,000), Chinese (89,000), Pakistani (55,000) and Ukrainian (35,000).

While trying and failing to resolve illegal migration, politicians ignore the impact of such high net migration figures on jobs, pay, education, health and other public services.