The Migrant Crisis: Will Sunderland be ‘invaded’?
Written by Kayleigh Beth Fraser on 8th November 2022
Following calls from the Government to cut down on immigration after a supposed ‘invasion’ of the South East, is the North East also experiencing a similar influx?
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has come under fire for suggesting there is an “invasion on our southern coast” in regard to a large increase of migrants arriving in the UK.
This came as criticism was expressed about the Manston immigrant processing site that is reported to be over capacity, housing thousands of migrants.
Answering questions from members in the House of Commons, the Fareham MP admitted: “The system is broken. Illegal immigration is out of control.”
Such controversy has sparked fresh dialogue regarding immigration into the UK – specifically where migrants live and whether we truly are experiencing an ‘invasion’.
Considering the impact of Brexit, here’s what we can understand from looking at the national and regional picture of immigration.
Firstly, looking nationally, reported statistics on the number of people crossing the English Channel has risen year on year.
The most recent statistics from the Home Office published in May 2022 show a sharp increase in the number of boats arriving on British soil.
In 2021, the yearly total of migrants arriving on boats was 28,526 people (Home Office, 2022).
However, in the first three months of 2022, there were 4,540 arrivals – nearly three times higher than the same period in the previous year.
While this overall picture is exponentially high, the next question is: could the North East have an ‘invasion’?
It’s hard to say yes or no.
Figures from 2011-19 indicate that the North (West and East) received an average of 11% of long-term immigration.
Compared to the city of London that averages at 30%, the North receives a relatively small number.
However, with the number of migrants arriving in the UK rising at an exponential rate and most illegal immigration being undocumented, it is possible that the population of immigrants in the region could increase too.
Of course, with all this uncertainty comes social concerns.
In 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union with the leave campaign often focusing on the benefits to immigration independence would have.
In Sunderland, this ended with 61% of the vote cast in favour of leaving.
Arguably, this emphasises a level of general unhappiness surrounding the previous system of immigration which resulted in some people deciding that leaving was a good idea.
As the numbers of migrants arriving in the UK continues to rise, local and national Government will face new challenges on how to manage this growing concern.
However, with support from councils and local organisations, an ‘invasion’ of the North East seems statistically and realistically unlikely.