18:10 GMT18 May 2021
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    Latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that Britain is still top destination for migrants, with numbers of non-EU citizens moving to the UK on the rise.

    Net migration to Britain of non-EU citizens rose to 248,000, the ONS said, the highest since 2004. Meanwhile, since 2012, the level of migration from the European Union stands at its lowest — 74,000 in the year to June 2018. According to the ONS, the decline is a trend that identified since the 2016 Brexit vote.

    Over the year, 625,000 people moved to the UK with 351,000 leaving.

    "Net migration continues to add to the population and has remained fairly stable since its peak in 2016, with around 270,000 more people coming to the UK than leaving in the year ending June 2018. However, there are different patterns for EU and non-EU migration. Due to increasing numbers arriving for work and study, non-EU net migration is now at the highest level since 2004. In contrast, EU net migration, while still adding to the population as a whole, is at the lowest since 2012," said Jay Lindop, Director of the Centre for International Migration, ONS.

    He added that the decisions to migrate are complex and people's decision to move to or from the UK will be influenced by a range of factors.

    "The net inflow from the EU is still roughly the size of the British Army despite cries of alarm from industry over Brexit. Meanwhile, non-EU net migration at 248,000 is an astonishing number. It is the highest for 14 years and the result of the Government's failure to take effective action to reduce it over recent years," Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said. 

    Control of immigration and increased scrutiny of people wishing to migrate to the United Kingdom were among the driving forces behind the Leave campaign ahead of the 2016 referendum on the membership of the European Union.

    Vote leave supporters wave Union flags, following the result of the EU referendum, outside Downing Street in London, Britain June 24, 2016.
    © REUTERS / Neil Hall
    Vote leave supporters wave Union flags, following the result of the EU referendum, outside Downing Street in London, Britain June 24, 2016.

    The Brexit withdrawal agreement struck between the British PM Theresa May and EU leaders will see to end freedom of movement "in full and once and for all" and enable the UK to take back control of its own borders.

    However, former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage said promises of regaining control have not been realised.

    "Theresa May is saying we're taking back control of our borders, but non-EU migration is the highest it's been for 15 years. The establishment have absolutely no intention of bringing immigration under control properly," Mr. Farage said.


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    migration, immigration, Brexit, UK Office of National Statistics (ONS), United Kingdom
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