Suella Braverman says record UK immigration numbers are ‘understandable’ thanks to 'generosity of British people'

Suella Braverman was responding to the latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics
Suella Braverman was responding to the latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics

A staggering 77 per cent of initial asylum applications were granted, according to the Home Office, the highest rate in more than 30 years

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The Home Secretary has said the record immigration numbers the UK has seen this year are “understandable”.

Suella Braverman was responding to the latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics which found that 504,000 more people came to the UK than left in the year to June this year.

That figure beats the previous highest record of 390,000 in 2015. The figures from the ONS reveal that more than a million people arrived in the UK last year.

That figure beats the previous highest record of 390,000 in 2015
That figure beats the previous highest record of 390,000 in 2015

According to the official analysis the bulk of the increase was driven by arrivals from non-EU nationals, students and those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Home Office figures show that there were 476,000 student visa applications in the 24 months to September this year, the highest ever level, and 77 per cent higher than the figure before the pandemic in 2019.

There was, officials confirmed, a particularly large increase in student visa applications from Indian and Nigerian students. Some 249,000 work visas were issued in the year ending September 2022, an 82 per cent rise on the pre pandemic level. EU nationals represented around 11 per cent of work visas granted.

The Home Office also confirmed that in the first nine months of 2022, around 200,000 visas were granted to Ukrainian nationals.

Albanians were the top nationality arriving by small boat in 2022. Albanians accounted for 13,650 asylum applications in the year ending September 2022, half of those claims originated from small boat arrivals.

And 72,000 applications for asylum were made in the last year, close to the previous record peak of applications in 2002.

A staggering 77 per cent of initial asylum applications were granted, according to the Home Office, the highest rate in more than 30 years.

A group of would-be hosts, sponsors and supporters of Ukrainian refugees, hold a Vigil for Visas outside the Home Office in London
A group of would-be hosts, sponsors and supporters of Ukrainian refugees, hold a Vigil for Visas outside the Home Office in London

Braverman responded to the latest figures, saying that it was “understandable” thanks to the generosity of the British people”.

“We have welcomed hundreds of thousands of people to Britain this year following the devastating war in Ukraine, the evacuation from Afghanistan and the despicable crack down on democratic rights in Hong Kong.

“Therefore, it is understandable that we have seen a record number of people coming to our country thanks to the generosity of the British people.

“Our immigration system allows us to provide refuge to those in need, including 144,600 Ukrainians, nearly 23,000 from Afghanistan and over 144,000 from Hong Kong.

“But the public rightly expect us to control our borders and we remain committed to reducing migration over time in line with our manifesto commitment. This level of migration has put pressure on accommodation and housing supply, health, education and other public services. We must ensure we have a sustainable, balanced and controlled approach which is why we continue to keep our immigration policies under review.

“My priority remains tackling the rise in dangerous and illegal crossings and stopping the abuse of our system. It is vital we restore public confidence and take back control of our borders.”