Awani Review

Complete News World

Post-Brexit, immigration to the United Kingdom is at an all-time high

Post-Brexit, immigration to the United Kingdom is at an all-time high

This is one of the best promises of Brexit: Divorce from the European Union (EU) will finally allow the United Kingdom to end the free movement of European citizens, to “take back control” of its national borders to limit arrivals. Four years after it came into force, on January 31, 2020, the reality is quite different. Indeed, between June 2022 and June 2023, more EU citizens left the territory than immigrated, with 86,000 net departures. But they have mostly been replaced by people from Africa (Nigeria) and Asia (India, China and Pakistan). Net migration reached historically high levels of 682,000 net inflows between June 2022 and June 2023 – and 745,000 between December 2021 and December 2022.

Rishi Sunak's conservative government wants to focus its energies on implementing a controversial deal to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda who came across the Channel on inflatable boats, targeting illegal migration. However, most migration is legal, involving people with residence or work visas. Between June 2022 and June 2023, 52,530 migrants arrived in the country in an irregular situation, or 7.7% of net arrivals.

Despite his anti-immigrant rhetoric, Mr. Sunak until recent months used the policy launched in 2021 by his predecessor, former prime minister Boris Johnson: a liberal post-Brexit regime, an employment contract and a visa for those with an annual wealth of 26,200 pounds sterling (roughly 30,000 euros). They can bring their loved ones as well as students. Officials have also introduced exemptions from salary scales for jobs in priority sectors (agriculture, social assistance, public health).

These political choices reflect the UK's structural dependence on migration. About 19% of staff in the NHS, a hospital-based public health system, are not British citizens. After decades of underinvesting in the training of its health workforce, the UK is suffering from a shortage of doctors. In other sectors under pressure, employers used a system that allowed them to temporarily hire foreign workers at wages 20% below the minimum wage in their sector.

25% of this article is for you to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.