The United Kingdom is likely to cut down the immigration numbers as the net migration in the country hit a record 606,000 in 2022, official figures showed on Thursday. The new figures may heap pressure on the government which has pledged to cut dependency on foreign labour.
As the net migration numbers hit a new high, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the immigration levels were “too high" and they needed to be brought down with the Opposition calling the numbers “unsustainable".
“It's as simple as that and I want to bring them down," Rishi Sunak said in an interview.
Immigration, which has been a key political issue in the United Kingdom, was one of the main battlegrounds of the Brexit referendum in 2016. The referendum eventually saw the country leave the European Union (EU).
Brexit brought an end to the policy of free movement of people from EU member states, which many businesses have since blamed for a shortage of workers. The event hit the agriculture, health, and the social care sector. Due to this hit, the UK government huddled to relax immigration rules to try to plug the gap.
Jay Lindop, Director of the Center for International Migration, identified two factors contributing to the rise of foreign labor in the United Kingdom. According to Lindop, global occurrences like the conclusion of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine have influenced this increase.
China's squeeze on civil rights in Hong Kong, which led to the UK relaxing entry rules for holders of British overseas passports, also had an impact. "A series of unprecedented world events throughout 2022 and the lifting of restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic led to record levels of international immigration to the UK," said Lindop.
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