UK's net migration soared to record high of 745,000 in 2022

The 2019 Conservative manifesto promised the 'overall numbers will come down' on migration.

Net migration to the UK in the year to December 2022 was higher than previously thought, hitting a new record of 745,000, according to revised estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

However, the figure for the year to June 2023 is estimated to be lower, at 672,000.

The ONS said it is too early to tell if this is the start of a new downward trend but that the most recent estimates indicate a slowing of immigration coupled with increasing emigration.

The previous estimate for the year to December 2022 had been 606,000, but the ONS has since revised this upwards in light of “unexpected patterns” in the behaviour of migrants.

Maggie Morgan from the ONS said: “Our most recent migration statistics are always provisional and supported by assumptions around whether we think people will stay 12 months or more.

“We are responding to changes in a highly volatile world and our revisions reflect the unexpected patterns arising from that unpredictability. This will continue to influence our measures of uncertainty.”

The 2019 Conservative manifesto promised the “overall numbers will come down” on migration.

The issue of reducing net migration has been a long-standing problem for the Tories, with then-prime minister David Cameron promising to bring it down to the “tens of thousands” in 2010.

The New Conservatives group on the Tory right has called for ministers to close temporary visa schemes for care workers and cap the number of refugees resettling in the UK at 20,000 as part of an effort to slash net migration to 226,000 by the time of the election expected next year.

The Government has introduced measures to prevent overseas students bringing dependants with them to the UK but while those “will lead to a significant reduction” over time, the changes “won’t impact the figures this week”, a spokesman said.

He said the Government “obviously” wants to see legal migration fall, but added that “our priority still remains small boats crossings”.

Sunak is said to be “actively looking” at what more can be done to reduce legal migration.

More to follow…

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