Net migration to the UK has hit a record high, according to the latest official figures released by the Office for National Statistics.
More than 260,000 more people arrived in the year ending March 2017 than left the country, the highest level ever recorded. This figure is significantly higher than the government’s target to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, and almost double the 2016 figure of 184,000.
The figures will present a challenge for the government as it seeks to reduce net migration, with the majority of new arrivals coming from the European Union. Many are seeking to take advantage of the UK’s current position in the EU and the possibility of free movement around the bloc.
The government will be under increased pressure to take action to reduce the number of arrivals across the border. This could include measures such as stopping people from coming to the UK without the correct documentation, or introducing a points-based system to limit who can move to the country.
The data also revealed that the majority of net migration to the UK is for work purposes, with many people coming to the UK to find jobs or rejoin the labour force.