Despite the energy crisis, the cost of living, the more stringent immigration system, the food, and the weather, the UK has broken records in terms of the number of people settling in the country last year.
According to the latest Home Office data, the country continues to attract the brightest students, lure talented workers, and provide a safe harbor for thousands of desperate refugees.
An estimated 104.9 million people passed through the UK border into the country last year, and more people than ever opted to stay in the country long-term, with net migration surpassing 500,000 for the first time ever.
The proportion of usual residents in England and Wales born outside of the UK in 2021 was 16.8 percent of the total, which is growing, and fast.
British citizenship was granted to 175,972 people in 2022, ten percent higher than the 2019 tally. The Home Office issued 2,836,490 visas in 2022, around half of which went to short-term visitors, and there were 485,758 sponsored study visas issued to main applicants and 267,670 work visas, which is almost double the pre-pandemic figure.
The UK has a long history of taking in those fleeing conflict at home. Asylum seekers are people seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country who have yet to be legally recognised as a refugee.
The Refugee Council says 74,751 asylum applications were made in the UK in 2022 – a 49 percent increase on 2021 – of which three-quarters were accepted. The UK’s asylum system, however, has a significant and growing backlog.
By the end of last year, 160,919 people were waiting for an outcome on their initial claim for asylum – over triple the outstanding figure by the close of 2019.
According to the latest migration survey by Gallup, 900 million people – 16 percent of the world’s adult population – were keen to leave their home country permanently.
The UK was found to be the sixth most desirable destination of the 200-odd on offer, the pollster’s projections showing that roughly 36 million were interested.