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Migration to UK hits record high of 504,000 with Ukraine and Hong Kong programs | Immigration and asylum

Net migration to the UK hit a record high of 504,000 after Ukrainians and Hong Kongers arrived under government programs and an increase in the number of international students.

Asylum applications are at a 32-year high, but nearly 100,000 people are waiting more than six months for their initial applications to be processed, according to official government data.

No 10 said on Thursday he was looking at options to reduce the number of international students. “We are considering all options to make sure the immigration system works and that includes the issue of student dependents and poor quality credentials,” Rishi Sunak’s spokesman said.

The new net migration figure released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is an increase of 331,000 in a single year and is at least 400,000 more than the Home Secretary’s target, Suella Braverman.

She promised in September that she would try to reduce overall migration to “tens of thousands” – a promise previously made by David Cameron and Theresa May but never fulfilled. This week, Sunak pledged to reduce overall migration.

Responding to the numbers, Braverman said she remained committed to reducing migration – but did not repeat her goal of reducing immigration to tens of thousands.

“The public rightly expects us to control our borders and we remain committed to reducing migration over time in line with our demonstrated commitment,” she said. “This level of migration has put pressure on housing and housing supply, health, education and other public services. We must ensure that we have a sustainable, balanced and controlled approach, which is why we continue to review our immigration policies.

“My priority remains to fight the increase in dangerous and illegal level crossings and to stop the abuse of our system. It is vital to restore public confidence and regain control of our borders.

Downing Street said Sunak wanted to lower overall immigration levels. “There are unprecedented and unique circumstances that have a significant impact on these statistics. The Prime Minister has said he wants a reduction in net migration, he has not set a specific deadline for this,” the spokesperson said.

Around 504,000 more people are estimated to have moved to the UK than left in the 12 months to June 2022, up sharply from 173,000 in the year to June. June 2021. The total is significantly higher than the 224,000 projected for next year by the Office of Accountability Budget (OBR).

The increase stems from an increase in visas for foreign nationals to live, study and work in the UK, which topped 1 million for the first time in the year to June.

A total of 1.1 million people are likely to have emigrated to the UK in the year to June, the majority – 704,000 – from outside the EU. By contrast, an estimated 560,000 people left the UK in the same period, with almost half – 275,000 – returning to the EU.

Students made up the largest proportion of immigrants, at 277,000, almost double the 143,000 who came to the UK in the year to June 2021. One factor was that students foreigners were returning to their UK lessons after studying remotely, the ONS said.

Humanitarian visas and other family visas accounted for the second largest proportion of immigrants, at 39% or 276,000 in the year ending June 2022. These included 89,000 Ukrainians, 76,000 from Hong Kong and 21 000 Afghans or British returnees from Afghanistan.

The ONS said the UK was experiencing a unique period of travel recovering from Covid 19. Statistics also show the number of people seeking asylum was the highest for nearly 20 years, at 72,027.

The backlog of asylum decisions is now 143,377, with almost 98,000 people waiting for more than six months, according to Home Office data. Forty-one percent of asylum claims come from people who traveled to the UK in small boats, statistics show.

Jay Lindop, Deputy Director of the ONS Center for International Migration, said: “A series of global events have impacted international migration patterns in the 12 months to June 2022. Taken together, they were unprecedented. These include the end of UK lockdown restrictions, the first full post-EU transition period, the war in Ukraine, the resettlement of Afghans and the new visa route for British nationals from Hong Kong, all of which have contributed to the long-lasting record levels of immigration we have experienced.

“Migration from non-EU countries, especially students, is driving this increase. With the lifting of travel restrictions in 2021, more students have arrived in the UK after studying remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Enver Solomon, the head of the Refugee Council, said: “These statistics underscore yet again the government’s neglect and mismanagement of the asylum system. The number of men, women and children now living in limbo has risen by 20,000 in just three months, meaning 143,000 are now awaiting a first decision on their cases, and just under 98,000 are awaiting more than six months.

“As the number of accepted asylum applications is at its highest level in 32 years – reflecting the global refugee crisis with millions fleeing their homes due to war, conflict and persecution – these new statistics from the Home Office underscore why urgent action is so urgent.” important.”

Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said the figures showed serious problems and Tory mismanagement of the immigration and asylum systems.

“Despite their promises to stop dangerous Channel crossings, they have failed to tackle criminal gangs, and asylum decision-making has collapsed – with just 2% of people arrived in small boats over the past year having had their cases decided,” she said.

theguardian Gt

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