The influx of Ukrainian refugees and those leaving Hong Kong, along with a post-Brexit boom in non-EU migration, has prompted forecasts that this year will witness the highest level of immigration to the United Kingdom “in recent history.”
Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine in February, the United Kingdom has granted over 70,000 visas to Ukrainians fleeing their homeland.
Meanwhile, the Home Office estimates that over 300,000 British National Overseas (BNO) status holders will migrate to UK from Hong Kong over the next five years due to an offer made in response to China’s shutdown on democratic freedoms in the region.
According to recent Home Office data, non-EU migrants coming to the UK to work and study has increased dramatically since post-Brexit immigration regulations.
Since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, the number of non-EU employees, students, and family members given UK visas has surged by more than 50%, to more than 840,000, according to a Telegraph study.
Experts link the increase in non-EU immigration to Boris Johnson’s government’s more liberal stance, as opposed to his predecessor Theresa May’s.
Lower wage and skill limits for visa applicants, no longer needing to establish that companies attempted to hire in the UK before looking overseas, and fewer limitations on students staying in the UK after graduation are among the changes.
Mr Johnson has also broken his promise to Mrs May to restrict net migration below 100,000 each year.
‘Overall immigration will be more than before Brexit since non-EU growth will be stronger than the reduction in EU migrants,’ Sunder Katwala, head of the British Future research group, told the newspaper.
‘It has resulted from intentional policy decisions by the Government to make immigration easier,’ says the report. ‘This year might be greater than any other year in recent British history.’
Global travel restrictions during the Covid epidemic influenced an appraisal of post-Brexit immigration patterns.
However, according to Home Office figures for 2021, the number of work-related visas issued has increased.
Following the conclusion of the Brexit transition period on January 1, 2021, anyone travelling to the UK to work or study will need a visa.
In all, 239,987 work-related visas were awarded in 2021.
This was a 110% rise over 2020 (114,528 visas) and a 25% increase over 2019 (192,559), the last full year before the Covid epidemic.
Only 30,514 (or 13%) of the work-related visas issued in 2021 went to EU nationals and those from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The number of overseas students given UK visas increased dramatically last year.
The number of sponsored study visas issued in 2021 (to both primary applicants and their dependents) was the highest ever.
This increased 89% over 2020 (203,313 visas) and 52% over 2019. (147,558).
However, EU nationals coming to the UK to study accounted for just a small portion of the rise.
In 2021, 22,714 study visas were issued to citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
This represented 5% of the international student visas issued throughout the year.