Immigration to add 6.1 million to UK population by 2036 – ONS


LONDON: Immigration is expected to add 6.1 million people to the UK population by mid-2036, official projections that will add to pressure on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to reduce it in the run-up to an election.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Tuesday the UK’s population is projected to grow from 67 million in mid-2021 to 73.7 million in mid-2036, driven almost entirely by migration.

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The jump, over the 15-year period, reflects a projection for 541,000 more births than deaths and international net international migration of 6.1 million people, the ONS said.

Figures released in November showed annual net migration to the UK hit a record of 745,000 in 2022 and has stayed at high levels since, with many migrants coming from places including India, Nigeria and China instead of the European Union.

The ONS projections published on Tuesday assume a net migration level of 315,000 people annually from the year ending mid-2028 onwards.

Sunak is under pressure to reduce the high level of legal migration, which has long dominated Britain’s political landscape and will be a major issue in an election expected later this year.

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His government last month announced stricter visa measures, including higher salary thresholds and restrictions on some migrants bringing in family members, in a bid to bring numbers down. The move was criticised by businesses and trade unions.

The UK population is projected to reach 70 million by mid-2026, the ONS said.

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