The Conservative Party in Britain has been vowing to limit the use of tobacco for years.
Brexit was built around a promise to "take control" of migration and borders. According to the latest national statistics, immigration rose in 2022. This was a surprise to many party leaders whose pro-Brexit supporters had expected a decline. New figures reveal that net migration in Britain, which is the difference between people who moved to Britain and those who left it, reached a new record of 606,000 last year. This is a 24 percent increase from 2021 and almost double the net migration rate in the years before and after Brexit. Migration is influenced by a mix of factors, both domestic and international. These include wars, political events and job opportunities. What do the numbers tell us about what's happening in Britain today?
Migration is fueled by violence and oppression.
Between 2004 and 2017, approximately 600,000 people moved each year to Britain. This figure reached a record high of 1.163 millions in 2022. It is unlikely that this figure will be matched anytime soon. Last year, the number of people fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine (more 120,000 Ukrainians moved to Britain after the war started in February 2022), Taliban control in Afghanistan, and increasing crackdowns on civil rights in Hong Kong increased dramatically. The UK has a humanitarian visa program specifically for these groups. These flows are already showing signs of a decline. Some of the surge in migration last year may have been movements that would have happened earlier, but were delayed by the pandemic caused by coronavirus.
Up until a few short years ago, the majority of migrants to Britain came from the European Union. After Brexit, the automatic right to leave Britain was removed.
The number of British citizens settling in Britain has dropped sharply. Last year, less than 8% was the total.
In recent years, the number of EU citizens returning to Britain has increased.
Education and economy also play a major role.
While the Conservative government has voiced its opposition to high levels of immigration, Britain faces major labor shortages in the health care, social service and agricultural sectors, partly due to Brexit.
The unemployment rate has fallen to below 4%. This is a far cry from the levels before the pandemic.
The government can't do anything about it, but Britain will continue to be attractive for migrants seeking work, regardless of its position. Many employers are asking the government to issue more work visas.
Education is also cited by the government as a factor in immigration. The number of foreign graduate students in Britain who are able to obtain dependent visas has increased. Suella Braverman said recently that the number of visas issued for dependent family members had increased by 750% in 2019. The majority of visas were issued to people from Nigeria or India. The government announced that it would make dependent visas more difficult to obtain. However, migration experts said the effect would be limited, and universities argue in favor of foreign students who, they claim, benefit the economy.
Arrivals along the English Channel represent a tiny fraction of migration.
In recent years, the political rhetoric in Britain on migration has been largely focused on the highly visible arrivals of people in small boats crossing the English Channel - mainly refugees seeking asylum. The new migration data reminded us that the majority of migrants who enter the country legally do not make the risky crossing of the English Channel. According to the government's statistics released this year, only 45,755 people crossed the Channel by small boats in 2022. This is 3.8% of all people who move to Britain. The Home Office's response to the latest migration statistics, released on Thursday, focused not only on slowing immigration but also how to reduce boat arrivals. The Home Office said that it was committed to reducing net migration while also stopping boats, delivering control at our borders and prioritizing abuse and preventing dangerous illegal crossings.
This article was originally published in
The New York Times