Direct refugee immigration to the UK is now 57 times previous level


October 14, 2022

  • Around 240,000 refugees came directly to the UK in the past year (57 times the average of 4,200 per year seen during 2015-2020).
  • The number of people who came directly last year was six times the number of Ugandan Asians given sanctuary in the UK in the early 1970s.
  • Britain opened its arms to help even as the former Home Secretary said: “We simply do not have the infrastructure or accommodation.” (see Note to Editors below).
  • A third of a million refugees have come directly to the UK via 13 different routes since 2005
  • The news shatters false claims by some - including French President Emmanuel Macron – that the UK has no safe, legal routes for refugees

New research by Migration Watch UK shows that the number of refugees who directly migrated to the UK during the past year via special schemes was 57 times the average figure for 2015-2020 (see MW510 - Direct refugee immigration to the UK).

Around 240,000 people were able to directly come resettle to the UK in the year to June 2022 compared with an annual average of 4,200 during the period 2015-2020.

Nearly a third of a million refugees came directly to the UK via 13 different resettlement routes during a longer period (2005 to mid-2022).

Since the start of 2021, around 150,000 refugees have come from Ukraine while around 120,000 people have come via the pathway to settlement for overseas British Nationals from Hong Kong. Meanwhile, just over 20,000 refugees were resettled from Afghanistan in the midst of the Taliban’s seizure of power last year.

Worryingly, in a development that highlights the chaos that prevailed during last year’s hasty withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan, although it has published an overall total number of 21,450, the government is unable to tell the public how many refugees have come to the UK respectively via each of two specific resettlement routes from Afghanistan that were introduced last year.

Commenting Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

The latest Migration Watch analysis has revealed a remarkable 57-fold increase in refugees coming directly to the UK compared to 2015-2020 levels. This after the government had clearly promised voters that overall immigration would come down.

The breath-taking scale of arrivals has major implications for communities and involves large amounts of public funds being spent on accommodation (including hotels) and places ever greater pressure on services. It is at an unsustainable level. We must control our borders and reduce immigration without delay.

Meanwhile, over a year after the Taliban seized power, the government still can’t tell us the numbers who have arrived respectively via each of the specific resettlement routes from Afghanistan. This failure to release adequate data hugely damages transparency and accountability and is a disservice to the hard-pressed taxpayer.

Note to Editors

In October 2021, while giving evidence to a House of Lords Committee regarding the government’s pledge to open up the UK to tens of thousands from Afghanistan, the former Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “We simply do not have the infrastructure or the accommodation” (Q2, p.3 of testimony to House of Lords committee, October 2021).

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