Net migration could hit a record 700,000 when figures are released this week amid a rise in foreign nationals extending their visas

Net migration could hit 700,000 in new figures this week, the Mail understands, opening a new front for attacks on Rishi Sunak by the Tory Right.

Internal Home Office forecasts suggest the official net migration estimate – to be published on Thursday – will rise to a record level. The figure for the year to June is expected to top 700,000, beating the high of 606,000 for 2022, sources said.

A surge could prove damaging for the Prime Minister after Suella Bravermanclaimed she lobbied for a series of measures to cut legal migration – but did not win backing from Downing Street.

She accused Mr Sunak of reneging on a secret deal she struck with him in exchange for her support in last year’s leadership election.

The 700,000 figure is based on the Home Office’s own data on immigration arrivals – such as the number of visas awarded – and an estimate of emigration. However, the official Office for National Statistics (ONS) figure may vary due to changes to methodology.

The Mail reported yesterday that one factor behind the expected increase is a sharp rise in the number of foreigners extending their UK visas.

Home Office data shows a 50 per cent increase in the number of foreign nationals who successfully applied to extend their permission to stay in Britain.

There were an extra 105,000 visa extensions for work, study or family reasons in the first six months of this year. The total rose 49 per cent to 319,979 in first half of this year compared with 214,899 in the same period last year.

This rise was mainly due to foreign workers winning new visas to stay in Britain – an increase of nearly 103,000.

It means many temporary migrants are staying in Britain for longer than expected – a factor likely to contribute to an overall rise in net migration.

In addition, the overall number of work visas handed out in the year to June was up 45 per cent, Home Office figures published in August showed.

Read More: Net migration could hit a record 700,000 when figures are released this week

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