The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that net migration to the UK reached a record high of 606,000 in the 12 months leading up to the end of 2022.
This figure compares with 588,000 for the same period in 2021 and is the highest level of net migration since records began in 1975. According to the ONS, the majority of the increase is due to higher levels of EU nationals migrating to the UK, particularly from countries such as Romania and Poland.
In addition, the ONS reported that the UK also saw highest number of asylum applications since the late 1990s during the period – a total of 28,000 compared to 22,000 in the 12 months to the end of 2021.
Commenting on the figures, the Minister for Immigration, Chris Philp, said: “We continue to work hard to make sure people come to the UK for the right reasons, not abuse our hospitality. The latest figures prove our world-leading immigration system is doing just that.”
However, the figures also highlight the UK’s ongoing challenge in tackling illegal immigration. While official figures show the UK has made significant progress in reducing the number of people attempting to enter the country illegally, this rate is still considerably higher than the level of applications for asylum.
At the same time, the ONS reported that the total number of people coming to the UK to live and work has steadily grown over the past two years, with 1.83 million arrivals during the 12 month period.