Non-European immigration at record level

Newly released statistics show that net immigration to the UK from outside the European Union hit its highest level on record last year.

During 2019, 282,000 more non-EU citizens arrived in the UK than left. This was the highest such figure since this statistic began to be collected in 1975.

By contrast net immigration from EU countries declined to 49,000 – less than a quarter of the peak figure four years ago.

These statistics pre-date the Covid-19 pandemic, which will reduce both immigration and emigration for an indefinite period, though it’s worth pointing out that at least 20,000 people arrived in the UK infected with the virus before UK authorities got round to imposing restrictions.

Some commentators have explained the astonishingly high 2019 immigration figure in terms of increased numbers of students arriving from China and India, in particular.

What isn’t explained is whether all of these students go back home at the end of their courses: experience would suggest that many stay in the UK (legally or not).

One of the questions to be answered by any eventual inquiry into Covid-19 is the extent to which London’s massive overcrowding contributed to the virus’s spread. What’s already clear is that post-virus our bloated higher education system is no longer financially viable. Post-Covid reconstruction will depend on putting the British people first and ignoring the usual calls from the business community for a continued flow of immigrants.

Many of those who voted for Brexit believed (wrongly) that they were voting to turn off the immigration tap, when in fact the pro-Brexit lobby (from Nigel Farage down) were openly in favour of increasing non-EU immigration.

The government’s bungling of Covid-19 lockdown has already compromised the future of the next UK generation. It seems clear that a generation will grow up significantly poorer than their parents. It would be unforgivable if they also had to live in a country that was no longer either British or European.

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