The record high of 504,000 in UK net migration shown in data this week looks at odds with business leaders’ claims that post-Brexit visa rules are choking off growth in the economy.

Politicians have been giving equally mixed messages. Prime minister Rishi Sunak this week promised to cut overall immigration, while assuring the CBI that he would “unapologetically create one of the world’s most attractive visa regimes for entrepreneurs and highly skilled people”.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer, the opposition leader, said he would be “pragmatic on the basic lack of people”, but that any loosening of visa rules would come with new conditions for business to “help the British economy off its immigration dependency”.

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