UK visas issued to one million people in the last year

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The number of foreign nationals granted a UK visa in the last 12 months has exceeded 1 million, representing the highest ever figure on record. According to official Home Office figures, 994,951 UK visas were issued in the 12 months to March, while 113,000 BNO visas were granted to Hong Kong nationals fleeing controversial security laws imposed by China.


The figures show an increase of more than a third compared to pre-pandemic levels. The rise has been attributed to a higher rate of UK Skilled Work visas issued to non-EU nationals and Study Visas granted to international students.

The record number of visas issued by the UK has been widely welcomed by immigrant advocates. However, Brexit-backing MPs and voters have blasted the Home Office for betraying Brexit promises. 


Patel faces wrath of MPs

Following the release of the new data, a string of Tory MPs launched a scathing attack on UK Home Secretary Priti Patel over, what they described as, a ‘drastic increase’ in net migration. In an open letter to Patel, written by 24 Conservative MPs and seen by the Daily Telegraph, MPs said that the levels of immigration ‘undermine promises made to the British public’.

The letter said: “Of course, there are exceptional circumstances regarding Ukraine and Hong Kong. But the reality of such a drastic increase undeniably undermines our promise to reduce immigration numbers. As you have grasped, mass UK immigration only pays lip service to the concept of ‘control’.”

“True control balances any need for high-skilled immigration with building a sustainable domestic workforce and the inevitable consequences of mass migration on societal cohesion, our housing and job markets, wage suppression and pressure on public services,” the letter adds.


Data breakdown

Breaking down the record number of UK visas granted, the data shows that 38% of visas issued were visit visas, 29% were study visas, 3% were family visas, while 13% were for other visas, according to the Home Office.

However, the figures show that the Home Office has approved less than half of the applications made by Ukrainian nationals fleeing the Russian invasion of their homeland. Across all Ukraine-related UK visa schemes, 60,482 applications have been received, but only 27,979 have been granted.

Meanwhile, the number of approved UK asylum applications has surged to 75% - the highest it has been in more than 30 years when it reached 82%.

The rise in asylum seekers has been attributed to Brexit by the Home Office. In a statement, the government department said: “The rise in grant rate is in part because of the low number of refusals (including third country refusals, which have been affected by the UK leaving the EU), although the overall grant rate can vary for a number of reasons.”

The total number of asylum applications for the year ending March 2022 was 55,146, the highest figure since 2003. Analysis shows that this figure is 56% more when compared with March 2020 and higher than when the European migration crisis of 2015 reached its peak.


Astonishing figures

Alp Mehmet, chair of the anti-immigration group Migration Watch UK, said: “These astonishing figures show around a million overseas nationals being granted entry to live in the UK in the past year or so. This is a huge increase on the year prior to the pandemic and possibly points to the highest annual immigration ever seen.”

“Such a huge number of arrivals can only add to strains on housing and services, put further pressure on schools and the NHS and worsen our congestion woes,” Mehmet added.

However, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: “The government has delivered on its promise to the British people to take back control of our immigration system. As we move out of the pandemic these statistics show our global points-based system is working.

“We are bringing in the skilled workers the UK needs including thousands of NHS doctors and nurses through the Health and Care visa. We have also helped thousands of people through our generous safe and legal routes including those fleeing Putin’s war in Ukraine, refugees from Afghanistan and our BN(O) Hong Kong route.”


EU nationals decline

While the UK has seen a significant rise in the number of non-EU nationals granted entry to the UK, the number of EU nationals leaving Britain has risen sharply, while the number of new EU applicants applying to come to the UK has slumped.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration to the UK from the EU is negative, with a reported 12,000 more people leaving than arriving in the year ending June 2021. 

This was against a net increase in the previous year of 24,000, including six months of movement before Brexit took place and when COVID restrictions were implemented in March 2020.

However, the ONS did warn that the coronavirus pandemic had meant that it had to alter its methods of obtaining data. 

The director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS, Jay Lindop, said: “The 12 months to June 2021 was a period when migration behaviour was impacted by the restrictions imposed to manage the coronavirus pandemic as well as ongoing changes in migration policy following Brexit.”

“Bringing together the best sources of data we have available, our latest estimates of net migration suggest that around 239,000 more people came to the UK than left, driven by non-EU immigration,” Lindop added. can help with Sponsor Licences

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