UK net migration could hit 1 million; statistics watchdog rebukes Braverman

Law and Justice Policy & Politics Westminster

Net migration to the UK could reach one million this year – almost double the record set last year.

Reducing net migration was a key Conservative promise in the 2019 general election. However, figures to be released by the Office for National Statistics in two weeks time will show that net migration will be even higher than the record 504,000 set between June 2021 and June 2022.

Sir Keir Starmer claims the government has “completely lost control” of the system and called for a “managed approach” to cut the numbers.

Commenting on an article in the Telegraph that net migration could reach be as high as 997,000 -following a Financial Times report that the figure for 2022 could pass 700,000 – Starmer told broadcasters: “I think we need to wait and see what those figures are, but I’ve seen that speculation.

“I think if we’re anywhere near that figure then it will show the government has completely lost control. We need a managed approach and we haven’t got that.

“Like almost everything else under this government, there’s no plan, there’s no control and, just like everything else, it seems like the system is broken.”

The FT reports that Sunak’s government is “drawing up plans” to stop family members joining overseas master’s students at British universities

The Guardian states: “Starmer’s comments represent a departure because, in the past, Labour has mostly focused it criticism of the government in relation to migration on illegal immigration, where even the home secretary, Suella Braverman, admits the government has lost control.”

Previously Labour has been at least as liberal as the government towards migration and Starmer was a vocal supporter of “free movement” during his bid to win the party leadership. However, legal migration has become a “headache for the Tories” and Starmer “may have sensed an opportunity,” continues the Guardian report.

Readers are also reminded that Labour has also urged British companies to train UK staff and not be reliant on foreign workers.

Earlier this week, ByLineTimes reported that a Starmer government would not repeal the controversial Illegal Migration Bill that was described as “morally unacceptable” by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Starmer’s spokesperson said it is not “necessary” to repeal the law in order to implement Labour’s own plans for migration, tweeted ByLineTimes’ political editor Adam Bienkov.

Net migration – which measures the number people moving to the UK against the number leaving – was “unusually high in 2022”, staes the Migration Observatory. They point to “several factors coming together at once” to explain the high number, referencing the Ukraine war and huminatarian route for Hong Kong British National Overseas (BNO) status holders. The Migration Observatory adds: “Increases in temporary work and study migration post-pandemic have contributed to net migration in the short run, although most leave the UK within a few years.”

Ironically, EU citizens – who comprised the majority of migrants before the 2016 Brexit referendum – “did not contribute to overall net migration at all, according to official estimates.”

Braverman rebuked over false claims that 100m people ‘are coming here’

Meanwhile Braverman has again been rebuked by the UK’s official statistics watchdog over her claims that 100 million people are coming to the UK.

Braverman told MPs in March: “There are 100 million people around the world who could qualify for protection under our current laws. Let’s be clear – they are coming here.”

The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) said Braverman’s figure is “not an estimate of either the number of people who would qualify for asylum if they were to reach the UK or of the number of displaced people likely to seek asylum in the UK”.

UKSA reprimanded Braverman in December, telling the home secretary her claim that migrants are “gaming” the UK’s modern slavery system is not supported by official data. The UK Office for Statistics Regulation – part of UKSA – requested “specific evidence” from Braverman for her claims but none was provided.

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