Record figures on net migration from the Office for National Statistics has sparked discussion over Britain’s approach to immigration and how the system might be being abused.
Net migration soared to a record 745,000 last year, revised figures show.
While the figures were previously estimated to be around 606,000 in the year ending December 2022, the ONS updated their estimates in figures published today.
Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine joined Mark Dolan and Beverley Turner on Britain’s Newsroom to discuss the latest figures.
Mark Dolan began, he said: “83,000 people genuinely fleeing war, fleeing for their lives. That’s the point about our country. We’re very tolerant and welcoming to people who face possible death or or or bad treatment.
“But what about those other figures? You know, skilled workers and students make up the bulk of it. Do we need those people?”
Vine said: “The thing is, I don’t think anyone objects to people coming from places like Ukraine who genuinely need our help. That’s completely fine. Most people are OK with that.
“The figures on the student visa dependents is quite interesting because, you know, why do they need those? Why do they need to bring their dependents? I mean my son’s at university, I don’t go and live with him!”
Sarah Vine joined Mark Dolan and Bev Turner to discuss new ONS figures on net migration
According to the ONS, there are 378,000 student visas now – up from 320,000 student visas in the last set of figures – along with 96,000 dependents.
“I think the thing that most people will think is that most people don’t mind migration. It’s just if they actually contribute and if they’re paying taxes and if they’re contributing to the economy.”
“Of course, the problem is a lot of these people are not, they’re going to be actually placing a burden on us.
“I mean, it’s nice that so many people want to come to the UK. It’s a good sign for us. I mean, it means that we are still very much a destination country for a lot of people.
“I think maybe the student visa thing has something to do with the fact that universities are touting their courses so enthusiastically with foreign students because they get so much more money.”
Bev chimed in: “So that could be a mature student coming over here and therefore bringing their wife and children, which makes you wonder whether they’re genuinely here because they want to study or because it’s an excuse.”
Vine replied: “Well they’re probably doing PhDs or whatever. That’s fine. If they are doing PhDs, they’re probably going to be quite useful people to have around.
“But the other issue is, why have we got all these Brits sitting around at home doing nothing and why are we importing people to to do the work that they should be doing? That’s the big issue, I think!”
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