Home Office data showed that the number of visas handed to workers, students, family relatives and other foreign nationals rose by 35 per cent to 994,951 in the year to March, up from a pre-pandemic high of 739,936.
A further 15,451 people were granted asylum as the number applying for refuge in the UK rose by nearly 45 per cent to 65,008 – fuelled by record numbers of migrants crossing the Channel on small boats and Afghans fleeing the Taliban.
The data also showed that three-quarters of initial asylum applications are being granted, the highest rate for 30 years, despite the Government’s claims to be cracking down on illegal arrivals and bogus claims.
The total one million-plus figure is the highest since 2005, when modern records began, and could be the largest number since the Second World War, although data is difficult to compare because of the different ways in which it has been collected and compiled.
Red Wall MPs have written to Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, saying the prospect of net immigration – the number arriving minus those emigrating – being higher than at any time in recent history “undeniably undermines” Brexit promises.
In the referendum campaign and since, Boris Johnson has promised that Brexit would allow Britain to “take back control of its borders” by ending freedom of movement with the EU.
However, he rejected his predecessor Theresa May’s targets designed to keep net migration below 100,000 a year and instead adopted a significantly more liberalised approach to post-Brexit immigration.
Tough on ‘illegal’ migration
While tough on “illegal” migration – as illustrated by plans to send Channel migrants on a one-way ticket to Rwanda – he has relaxed rules for foreign skilled migrants and students with sponsored jobs or university places in the UK.
The number of student visas has risen by 14 per cent to 471,802 from 413,350 from predominantly non-EU destinations after the Government relaxed the rules allowing them to work in the UK for up to two years after graduation.
The number of work visas have increased by 50 per cent