More Immigration Is Not a Brexit Betrayal, UK Govt Insists

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivering his Budget to the House of Commons in L
House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images

British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has insisted that new, even laxer rules for immigrant workers are not a betrayal of Brexit as migration into the United Kingdom reaches record highs.

Mr Hunt, who serves as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, stated that the Brexit vote to  Leave the European Union — which he did not support — was not based on completely restricting immigration, arguing that “people who voted for Brexit didn’t vote for no immigration.”

Hunt added that the Brexit vote was a vote to control immigration — despite the fact that immigration numbers surged to over a million arrivals last year, far higher than during the 2016 Brexit referendum, the BBC reports.

The remarks from the Chancellor come after the was criticised by some for new rules on immigrant construction workers that will allow migrants to claim jobs even more easily as the United Kingdom faces a supposed shortage of workers in the construction and hospitality industries.

“What those people who voted for Brexit want is an economy, an economic model, that does not depend on unlimited, low-skilled migration,” said Hunt — as if he, as someone who actively campaigned against Brexit, could be in a position to tell Brexit voters what they wanted.

“What those people want is to know the government has a plan to remove the barriers to stop people working in the UK, to make sure we invest in our skills. That was the plan that I announced yesterday,” he rambled.

According to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the bulk of last year’s legal arrivals were from non-European Union countries, with the government agency also noting that the war in Ukraine, ongoing issues in Afghanistan, and a new visa route for Hong Kongers likely played a factor in the record numbers.

Of the 331,000 immigrants granted work visas by the British government last year, over 110,000 were from India, followed by 21,900 from the Philippines, and 17,500 from Nigeria.

Madeleine Sumption, director of Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, claimed that the migrants were likely to be more high-skilled, barring around 50,000 or so care workers.

Tory governments under Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and Rishi Sunak have also seen a constant increase of illegal immigrants from across the English Channel, with last year seeing a record 45,000 illegal arrivals by small boat alone.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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