Sunak vows to ‘do what is necessary’ to curb net migration
The Prime Minister spoke to reporters during a visit to Surrey on Thursday.
Rishi Sunak has vowed to “do what is necessary” to bring net migration down as he sought to blame the “very large numbers” on his predecessors.
The Prime Minister said he had “inherited” the figures but he was “determined” to bring them back down to “sustainable levels”.
It comes after revised estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published last week showed net migration – the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving the country – reached a record 745,000 in 2022.
This was higher than previously thought and prompted Tory calls for curbs.
During a visit to Guildford, Surrey, on Thursday, Mr Sunak told reporters: “The levels of legal migration to this country are simply too high.
“I’ve inherited these very large numbers and I’m determined to do what is necessary to bring them back down to sustainable levels.”
Asked if he had blocked immigration minister Robert Jenrick’s plan to cut net migration a year ago and whether he backed the idea of an overall cap, he said: “We have taken significant action already but we are prepared to do more.
“We are clamping down on the number of dependants that people who are students coming here can bring, that will impact over 150,000 student dependants, it’s a very significant measure which is coming in next year.
“We’ve raised visa fees across the board by up to 35%.”
He said the Government was examining independent advice and “will bring forward measures to bring down the levels of migration” which “put unsustainable pressure on public services”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer claimed Mr Sunak was facing an open revolt from the Tories and his party had “lost control of the borders” as he pressed him on rising migration figures in the Commons on Wednesday.
Mr Sunak defended his record, insisting the “toughest action ever taken to reduce legal migration” is “yet to be felt”.
Net migration for the year to June 2023 is estimated to have been slightly lower, at 672,000.