Immigration became again, this Thursday, an issue that angered the British Conservative Party, when it was known that the updated immigration figures of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a figure in 2022 of 745,000. They are 139,000 more than those announced in May, which totaled 606,000. The numbers are net, calculated by subtracting emigrants.
The 2022 numbers were affected by a notable influx of citizens from Ukraine and Hong Kong, which the United Kingdom welcomed as refugees from war and the suppression of democracy, respectively. In the latest data, from June last year to June 2023, there was a decrease, 672,000, compared to the net total for 2022.
The composition of foreigners according to country of origin has changed. Those from China, India and Nigeria are the most numerous. From June 2016, the date of the Brexit referendum, until June 2023, the number of citizens of European Union countries who chose to live in the United Kingdom, or subsequently immigrated, decreased from 521,000 to 129,000.
Britain’s population is growing at a pace, 1% per year, comparable only to the beginning of the 1960s. Today, growth is not based on women giving birth, but on the arrival of health and social service employees, university students and their families. The population grew mainly in the north and decreased only in London.
The arrival of undocumented immigrants and refugee seekers on boats crossing the English Channel, after the strengthening of barriers to access the Eurostar train, also reached its peak in 2022 According to the British Home Office, 45,755 people were found in boats throughout the year. The Government claims that they have been reduced for the third year this year.
The visibility of immigration by boat forced the Executive to promote extreme measures, but the figures published this Thursday show that the visa system has not achieved the desired goal. In the election campaign of December 2019, which legitimized the current Administration, the Conservative Party promised to reduce the total number of annual immigrants, which at that date was 229,000.
The media picked up on the warnings from conservative representatives. Without identifying himself, one of them told ‘Express’: “This will not continue. No one has voted for it. This is immigration on a scale that the country has never seen. The numbers last year are shocking. “The lesson is not ‘y learned.” Another recalled that, every election since 1992, they promised to reduce the entry of the undocumented.
Meanwhile, the ‘Reform’ party, sponsored by Nigel Farage from afar, has 10% of the voting intentions in the polls. David Cameron, surprisingly appointed Foreign Minister by Rishi Sunak, called the 2016 referendum because the party led by Farage, UKIP, was eating away at conservative votes and weakening it. Sunak’s election prospects are weaker now than Cameron’s were.