The National Bureau of Statistics has revealed that the number of immigrants to the UK is set to reach a record high of over 600,000 in 2022. Net immigration for the year, the difference between arrival and departure figures, was 606,000. In total, 1.2 million people moved to the UK, while 557,000 left. The figures reflect various global events during 2022 and the relaxation of restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic. Immigration includes international students, those arriving to work and nearly 200,000 individuals seeking refuge from war-affected Ukraine and Chinese-occupied Hong Kong.
These high numbers are likely to reignite debate over Brexit, as hundreds of thousands of people from across Europe arrived in the UK prior to the 2016 referendum. Brexit supporters argued that leaving the country would take control of borders and immigration, but the number of immigrants increased. In 2022 specifically, 151,000 individuals moved from EU member states, compared to 925,000 from outside the region.