Fact check: Immigration was six times higher in 1964-2010 than past two years

Reform UK party leader Richard Tice posted on social media to claim that Rishi Sunak had “welcomed more migrants in just two years… than arrived between 1066 and 2010!.”


In 2022 and 2023, just under 2.5 million immigrants in total came to the UK, while between 1964 – when Office for National Statistics (ONS) data begins – and 2010 more than 14.6 million people emigrated to the UK.

The facts

Reform UK’s press office did not respond when asked by the PA news agency to provide a source for the claim in his post on X, formerly Twitter.

Provisional data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released on May 23 showed that long-term immigration to the UK was 1.218 million for the year ending December 2023 after being 1.257 million for the same period in 2022. Together these add up to 2.475 million people.

ONS immigration data from 1964 to 2010 shows there were 14.646 million immigrants across the 46 years.

That alone is a figure almost six times higher than total immigration over the past two years, even though it is missing data from nearly 900 years of Mr Tice’s selected range of 1066 and 2010.

If measuring net migration – that is the number of people who moved to the UK minus the number who left the country – the figures are slightly different.

Net migration was 685,000 in 2023 and 764,000 in 2022, for a combined tally of 1.449 million.

Meanwhile, ONS figures suggest that net migration between 1964 and 2010 was 2.287 million.

Since ONS records do not go back as far as 1066, it is unclear what total net migration would be if data from the other 898 years could be included.


Richard Tice’s post on X (archived)

ONS – Long-term international migration, provisional: year ending December 2023 (archived)

ONS spreadsheet – Long-Term International Migration into and out of the UK by citizenship, 1964 to 2015 (archived)

Election Check 24
Election Check 24