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U.K. Migration Expected to Decline After Record 2022

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  2. U.K. Migration Expected to Decline After Record 2022

A total of 606,000 people were added to U.K.’s population in 2022 but that number is forecast to drop to about 245,000 annually by 2027

Migration in the United Kingdom will probably decline in coming years after the number of foreigners entering the country climbed to a record in 2022, according to government forecasts.

The Office of National Statistics projects net migration in the U.K. as part of its budget exercise and for planning public services which shows the inflow of foreigners declining by 5.1 percent in the year to June 2024 to 295,000. It will drop a further 6.1 percent in the following year and by 5.8 percent in the year to June 2026 before stabilising at around 245,000 annually thereafter.

ONS data in May estimated long-term immigration at around 1.2 million in 2022 while emigration was 557,000, leading net migration to jump 24 percent to a record 606,000.

ONS attributed the high levels of immigration in 2022 to people coming to the U.K. from non-EU countries for work and study after travel restrictions were eased following the pandemic as well as for humanitarian purposes, including unique events such as those in Ukraine and Hong Kong. A total of 925,000 non-EU nationals, 151,000 EU nationals and 88,000 British arrived in the U.K. in 2022, according to ONS data. The U.K. government is under pressure to reduce the number of foreign nationals coming to settle in the country, which was one of the main election planks of the ruling Conservative Party. Earlier this month, the government increased fees for a range of immigration and nationality services by 15 to 20 percent. It recently also announced stiff increases in fines for employers hiring illegal immigrants as well as for landlords letting their property to illegal immigrants.

Evidence suggests that students typically stay for shorter periods than other migrants and that the majority leave at the end of their study, ONS said. The latest data shows that those who arrived for study reasons in 2021 are now starting to leave, driving an increase in total emigration from 454,000 in 2021 to 557,000 in 2022.

“Growth has slowed over recent quarters, potentially demonstrating the temporary nature of these impacts,” ONS said.

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