UK migration hits record high of 606,000 in 2022


UK’s net migration surged to 606,000 in the year ending December 2022, surpassing the previous record of 504,000 in the year ending June last year, official figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed on Thursday.

Net migration represents the annual count of individuals entering the UK, accounting for both immigration and emigration.


While the figure for net immigration is below consensus estimates that projected the number as high as 700,000 or even close to 1 million, the recorded value remains approximately three times greater than what the Conservative Party had pledged in their 2019 manifesto (migration would fall below 250,000).

The ONS said a notable rise in migration levels can be attributed primarily to non-EU immigration, while the UK has witnessed more individuals from the EU leaving than arriving.

“Total long-term immigration was estimated at around 1.2 million in 2022, and emigration was 557,000, which means migration continues to add to the population with net migration at 606,000; most people arriving in the UK in 2022 were non-EU nationals (925,000), followed by the EU (151,000) and British (88,000),” the ONS said.

It also said 2022 was exceptional in terms of migration due to global circumstances, with factors such as individuals arriving through humanitarian routes from Ukraine and Hong Kong, contributing to the overall increase.

The ONS noted its assessments also indicate that there is a significant influx of immigration from non-EU international students and their dependents, which continues to remain at high levels.

“This can be attributed to increased demand post-pandemic, as well as delayed travel, and may also be influenced by the new Graduate Visa route,” it added.

In a bid to curb migration rates, the British government on Tuesday introduced new regulations limiting international students bringing their family members to the UK.

Under the proposed regulations only a restricted number of students studying in the UK will be able to bring their partners or children with them to the country.

The opportunity to bring dependents will be reserved for those enrolled in postgraduate research programs, recognized for their notable contributions to academia.