The latest immigration statistics were published in mid-May. Net migration (meaning migrants coming minus those leaving) turned out to be around 600,000 in 2022.
In 2010 when the Conservative party was trying to return to power, David Cameron, the then Conservative party leader, promised to reduce annual net migration to the “tens of thousands” of people instead of the “hundreds of thousands”. At the time net migration was 250,000 people a year and by the time Cameron was re-elected in 2015 the figure was already at 350,000. Cameron’s pledge was repeated by every prime minister that succeeded him except the current Rishi Sunak, who simply pledged to reduce net migration to less than 500,000 a year. All Conservative governments from Cameron to Sunak have failed in their pledges.
The current government attributes the increase in net migration (an increase of 118,000 people since December 2021) to various international crises that have resulted in more migrants coming to the UK: China’s Hong Kong policy, the Taliban coming to power in Afghanistan, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the crossing of refugee boats across the English Channel, etc. They also attribute the increase in net migration to other factors such as pro-migrant judges, leftist lawyers, international courts infringing on the sovereignty of the country, good Samaritans acting in a naïve manner, and so on. The government’s stance is to blame everyone but themselves for their failure to the extent that they continue to blame the Labour party which has not governed the UK for over 13 years.
The government talks of tightening the UK’s immigration policies by not allowing students to bring their dependents, of deporting refugees to Rwanda, of raising the minimum wage for nurses who want to come from other countries to work in the NHS, of removing people who are here illegally, and so on. The emboldened Home Secretary Suella Braverman attacks everyone in her path, from judges, lawyers, the opposition, refugees and even her own boss Rishi Sunak. This is the attitude of a desperate government that has completely lost its bearings on the issue of migration, or rather that never really had any, and that is plunging deeper and deeper into the abyss taking us all with it.
Manuel Padilla Behar is a solicitor specialising in immigration law and is the owner of MPB Solicitors. You can contact him here.