UK immigration hits record levels despite labour shortages
Immigration to the UK has hit record levels, despite labour shortages in key sectors, amid a fresh wave of public positivity towards arrivals.
In the year ending in June 2022, long-term immigration into the UK was around 1.1m, up by 435,000 on the previous annual figure.
Employment-related migration fell in vital sectors such as hospitality and transport, sparking worker shortfalls and supply chain issues, a UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE) report found.
But UK universities have noted a rise in non-EU international students and the post-Brexit era has seen the biggest flow of refugees to the UK since the Second World War.
More than 430,000 people have been granted status under humanitarian routes, the report said, 85 per cent of whom are Ukrainian or from Hong Kong.
It comes just days after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled tough new legislation aimed at stopping small boat crossings in a bid to deliver on his five key pledges ahead of an election.
Jonathan Portes from UKICE said: “The biggest shake-up in UK immigration policy for half a century coincides with a sustained shift in public attitudes in a more positive direction, with a broad consensus the system should meet the needs of the economy and labour market.”
Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “Brexit closed down free movement of people and has created labour shortages in important sectors.
“Immigrants make up a significant proportion of the key workers, from supermarket shelf-packers, to care workers and health staff, who we all clapped for during the pandemic.”
And Madeleine Sumption, Migration Observatory director, said: “The post-Brexit immigration system has given with one hand and taken with the other.
“While some low-wage sectors have faced labour shortages as they adjust to a world without free movement, others have seen a boom in recruitment.
“The average impacts of the new immigration system are still expected to be small, but it’s clear that different employers are experiencing it in very different ways”.