Welcome to the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR). The MSQR series brings together statistics on migration that are published quarterly by the Home Office, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the National Records of Scotland (NRS).
There is significant interest in migration statistics both nationally and internationally and there is a need to understand how moves impact on society and the economy. Migration estimates are a fundamental component of ONS’s mid-year population estimates. These are used by central and local government and the health sector for planning and monitoring service delivery, resource allocation and managing the economy. For further information on how ONS migration statistics are used along with information on their fitness for purpose please see the Quality and Methodology Information for Long-Term International Migration Releases. (131.8 Kb Pdf)
This edition of the MSQR follows the same format as May’s edition. Accompanying this publication is the launch of the ‘Migration Timeline’ product. This first publication is to present an initial view of a product that shows key migration figures since 1964 with additional data and information that provides context to what may have affected international migration at that time. Comments are welcome and will help inform further development of the timeline. If you have any comments please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our consultation on international migration outputs has now been completed and a summary of the feedback has been published. The proposals to move the local area migration indicator suite and the tables of population by nationality and country of birth from quarterly to annual publications were accepted. Therefore these are updated to accompany this MSQR, but will not be updated again until August 2013. The latest population by nationality and country of birth tables refer to the year ending December 2011 and are accompanied by a short report on population by nationality and country of birth that focuses on annual changes.
The latest provisional estimates of international migration to and from the UK are for the year ending December 2011. Where tables are based upon the International Passenger Survey, confidence intervals have been introduced to accompany the estimates. Previously standard error percentages were supplied, but user feedback suggested that confidence intervals were more meaningful and that it would be helpful to have confidence intervals alongside the net migration estimates. Guidance on comparing data from different sources can be found in the User Information (151.4 Kb Pdf) and web links are provided at the back of the report for those who wish to access the underlying datasets.
The Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) datasets use the UN definition of a long-term international migrant being someone who moves from their country of previous residence for a period of at least a year. The latest provisional LTIM estimates show:
Estimated total long-term immigration to the UK in the year to December 2011 was 566,000, not a statistically significant difference from 591,000 in the year to December 2010 and continues broadly similar levels since 2004.
Estimated total long-term emigration from the UK in the year to December 2011 was 350,000. This compares to 339,000 in the year to December 2010 and continues the lower levels of emigration seen since its peak of 427,000 in 2008.
Estimated net long-term migration to the UK in the year to December 2011 was 216,000, which despite being lower than the final estimate of 252,000 in 2010 it is not a statistically significant change.
Study remains the most common reason for migrating to the UK since December 2009 at an estimated 232,000 for the year to December 2011.
Citizens from non-EU countries continue to be the largest group of migrants to the UK compared to British and the rest of the EU. An estimated 314,000 non-EU citizens arrived to live in the UK in the year to December 2011, which is 55 per cent of all immigrants. This compares with 322,000 non-EU citizens who arrived in the year to December 2010.
The latest data on applications to live, work and study in the UK, which can also include people intending to stay in the UK for less than a year, show:
Excluding visitor and transit visas, the number of visas issued fell to 519,730 in the year ending June 2012, the lowest 12-monthly total recorded using comparable data available from 2005. This was 16% lower than the year ending June 2011 (616,184) and the lowest recorded (for data available on a comparable basis, from 2005).
In the year to June 2012 a total of 147,385 work-related visas were issued, a decrease of 7 per cent on 158,177 in the year to June 2011. The number of visas issued for the purposes of study (including student visitors) was 282,833 in the year to June 2012, a fall of 21 per cent on 359,565 in the year to June 2011.
601,000 National Insurance numbers (NINos) were allocated to non-UK nationals in the year to March 2012, a decrease of 15 per cent on the year to March 2011.
169,000 NINos were allocated to EU8 nationals in the year to March 2012, a decrease of 10 per cent on the year to March 2011.
This section shows the latest available figures from the following sources:
Long-term international migration figures in the year to December 2011.
Entry clearance visas issued by the Home Office up to June 2012.
National insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals up to March 2012.
The provisional estimate of total long-term international immigration to the UK in the year to December 2011 was 566,000. This level has been broadly maintained since 2004. (Figure 1.1)
The provisional estimate of total long-term emigration from the UK in the year to December 2011 was 350,000, similar to 339,000 in the year to December 2010 but lower than the year to December 2008, when total emigration from the UK peaked at an estimated 427,000. (Figure 1.1)
The provisional estimate of net long-term migration to the UK in the year to December 2011 was 216,000. This is lower than the estimated net migration figure of 252,000 in the year to December 2010 but is not a statistically significant difference (Figure 1.1). This difference has been caused by a lower immigration and a higher emigration estimate than the previous year. The highest recorded figure for net migration was in the year to June 2005 when it reached 260,000
Different nationalities have different visa requirements for entering and staying in the UK:
European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals do not require a visa to come to the UK.
For over 100 other nationalities, covering three-quarters of the world population, a visa is required for entry to the UK for any purpose or for any length of stay.
For all remaining nationalities a visa is required for those wanting to come to the UK for over six months, or for work.
The total number of entry clearance visas for work and study issued in the year to June 2012 was 430,218, a 17 per cent decrease on the year to June 2011 (517,742). (Figure 3.12).
601,000 National Insurance numbers (NINos) were allocated to non-UK nationals in the year to March 2012, a decrease of 15 per cent on the year to March 2011.
This section contains latest available data of migration to and from the UK by citizenship. It includes data from the ONS Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates and National Insurance Number allocations to overseas nationals. This section explores the different patterns in migration flows by citizenship that together influence the total patterns in migration flows. It focuses on:
British and non-British citizens (that sum to total UK migration flows).
EU and non-EU citizens (that sum to total UK migration flows).
EU8 citizens (that are a subset of EU migration flows).
Long-term international migration estimates by citizenship show that in the year to December 2011 the estimated number of British citizens immigrating long-term to the UK was 78,000. In the year to December 2010 there were 93,000 British citizens immigrating. The estimated number of British citizens emigrating long-term from the UK in the year to December 2011 was 149,000 not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 136,000 in the year to December 2010. (Figure 2.11).
The estimated number of non-British citizens immigrating long-term to the UK in the year to December 2011 was 487,000, similar to the estimate of 498,000 for the year to December 2010. The estimated number of non-British citizens emigrating long-term from the UK was 201,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 203,000 in the year to December 2010. (Figure 2.12).
An estimated 174,000 citizens from the EU (excluding British) migrated to the UK in the year to December 2011, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 176,000 in the year to December 2010. The estimated number of EU citizens (excluding British) emigrating from the UK was 92,000 in the year to December 2011, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 99,000 who emigrated in the year to December 2010. (Figure 2.21)
In May 2004, eight central and eastern European countries joined the EU with rights to work in the UK. The estimated number of citizens of the EU8 countries immigrating long-term to the UK in the year to December 2011 was 77,000 not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 86,000 in the year to December 2010 (note that the small number of EU8 migrants in the International Passenger Survey sample means that a change must be large for it to have sufficient certainty to be regarded as statistically significant). The estimated number of EU8 citizens emigrating from the UK in the year to December 2011 was 37,000, the same as the estimate of 37,000 in the year to December 2010. (Figure 2.22)
The estimated number of non-EU citizens immigrating long-term to the UK in the year to December 2011 was 314,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 322,000 in the year to December 2010. The estimated number of non-EU citizens emigrating from the UK in the year to December 2011 was 109,000, similar to the estimate of 104,000 in the year to December 2010. (Figure 2.3)
National Insurance numbers (NINos) are compulsory for people wishing to work in the UK, whether short-term or long-term. NINo allocation statistics give an approximation of the uptake of work by non-UK nationals.
The total number of NINo registrations to adult overseas nationals in the year to March 2012 was 601,000, a decrease of 104 thousand (15 per cent) on the year to March 2011.
The proportion of NINos allocated to Accession nationals (that is those of all 12 Accession countries –see Glossary) in the year to March 2012 is 34 per cent. Accession nationals accounted for 46 per cent of all allocations to adult overseas nationals when the figures peaked in the year to December 2007. (Figure 2.4)
Note that the number of non-UK nationals who have been allocated NINos is not the same as the number of non-UK nationals working in the UK. This is because people who have been allocated NINos may subsequently have left the UK, or they may still be in the UK but have ceased to be in employment. Additionally, people with NINos can leave the UK and then return and take up employment without re-registering.
This section contains the latest available figures on immigration to the UK by reason. These are available from a number of sources. However, it is important to note that each source covers a different group of people – for example Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) only covers people intending to stay in the UK for at least 12 months, whereas other sources also include short-term immigrants. In addition the LTIM estimates cover all nationalities, whereas other sources only cover immigrants of specific nationalities.
More information on comparing data sources is available in the User Information (151.4 Kb Pdf) .
The most common reason given for migrating to the UK is formal study. An estimated 232,000 long-term migrants arrived to the UK for formal study in the year to December 2011 not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 238,000 in the year to December 2010. (Figure 3.11)
The second most common reason given by migrants to the UK is work-related, which was 184,000 in the year to December 2011. This is similar to the estimate of 203,000 in the year to December 2010 but 24 per cent lower than the peak of 242,000 in the year to December 2007. (Figure 3.11)
Excluding visitor and transit visas, most entry clearance visas are issued under the Points Based System (PBS) for work (Tiers 1, 2 and 5) and study (Tier 4). Further information on the different tiers of the PBS is available in the Glossary. Entry clearance visas also include those for family reasons.
Of the entry clearance visas issued in the year ending June 2012, a total of 147,385 were work related. This was a decrease of 7 per cent on 158,177 in the year ending June 2011. These include (Figure 3.13):
21,400 Tier 1 (highly skilled workers) visas or equivalents.
67,733 Tier 2 (skilled workers) visas or equivalents.
38,141 temporary visas under Tier 5 (youth mobility and temporary workers) or equivalent.
569 pre-PBS visas that cannot be allocated to a tier
19,542 work-related visas not covered by the PBS.
The data series starts at the year ending December 2005. The highest number of entry clearance visas issued for work-related reasons was 249,634 in the year ending December 2006. This figure then declined gradually to 152,995 in the year ending March 2010. Following which the number of entry clearance visas issued for the purposes of work rose slightly to 161,809 in the year ending March 2011. The figure has since decreased to the lowest recorded since the series started in 2005.
The number of entry clearance visas issued for the purposes of study, including Tier 4 (students) and student visitors, was 282,833 in the year ending June 2012, a decrease of 21 per cent on 359,565 on the year ending June 2011. In the year ending December 2005 a total of 207,418 visas were issued for the purposes of study. This figure increased gradually at first, reaching 267,872 in the year ending June 2009, after which it increased sharply, peaking at 362,043 in the year ending June 2010, a rise of 35 per cent on a year earlier. Following this peak there has been a 22 per cent decrease overall in the number of visas issued for the purposes of study to the year ending June 2012 (Figure 3.12).
Compared with the year ending December 2011 (the latest period covered by the IPS estimates), the numbers of entry clearance visas issued for the purposes of work, study and family reasons have all decreased for the year ending June 2012 (work, study, family visas combined, -8%; work, -1%; study, -12%; family, -1%). Recent falls in the number of entry clearance visas issued for work and study are consistent with changes to the rules governing visas issued for work from December 2010 and for study from July 2011. As illustrated by Figure 3.13 the number of visas issued for work began to fall for the year ending March 2011 which is consistent with earlier implementation of the new visa rules governing the work route.
For information on comparing entry clearance data to IPS data on reasons for migration please refer to the User Information (151.4 Kb Pdf) .
In addition to the visas information the Home Office has released provisional quarterly figures up to June 2012 on applications for asylum and grants of settlement. The settlement figures relate only to those people who are subject to immigration control and do not cover EEA and Swiss nationals.
Asylum figures in this section relate to individual quarters rather than the rolling years used elsewhere in this report.
The number of applications for asylum, excluding dependants, was three per cent higher in Q2 2012 (4,954) compared with Q2 2011 (4,801) (Figure 3.14).
Comparing the year ending June 2011 with the year ending June 2012, the number of people granted settlement in the UK fell by 33 per cent from 209,761 to 138,589. Family formation and reunion grants fell by 19 per cent to 47,401, employment-related grants fell by 1 per cent to 68,974 and other grants, including those on a discretionary basis, fell by 84 per cent to 11,140. There was an increase in asylum-related grants (up 25 per cent to 12,074). (Figure 3.15)
This section contains the latest available figures on emigration from the UK by reason.
Work related reasons continue to be the main reasons given for emigration and account for 57 per cent of emigrants. An estimated 201,000 people emigrated from the UK for work related reasons in the year ending December 2011, similar to the estimated 189,000 who emigrated in the year ending December 2010. The number of people emigrating for work related reasons reached a peak in the year ending December 2008 when 219,000 persons emigrated for work related reasons. (Figure 3.2) 61 per cent of those emigrating for work related reasons have a definite job and the remaining 39 per cent intend to look for work. These proportions have remained fairly constant over time.
Emigration of British citizens had experienced a decline to 128,000 in the year to June 2010. Since then the estimated number of British citizens emigrating has increased to 149,000 in the year to December 2011, although this is not a statistically significant change. Emigration patterns of British citizens have been driven by the number of British citizens leaving the UK for work-related reasons, which is just over half (55 per cent) of all British emigrants.
Other migration and population products published on 30 August 2012 include:
Local area migration indicators suite (ONS). (6.6 Mb Excel sheet) This is an interactive product bringing together different migration related data sources to allow users to compare indicators of migration at local authority level. In this release more recent data have been provided for some of those indicators already published. This product will be updated annually in August.
The International Migration Timeline (ONS). This new product shows key international migration figures from 1964 to 2010 and allows the user to select particular years and see the figures in context of GDP, unemployment and key events or developments that occurred during these years. The product also shows the top 3 countries of origin and destination for migrants to and from the UK. It will be updated with final figures annually in November. This new product is initially launched to encourage feedback on how we might develop it further. Please email your suggestions to email@example.com.
UK resident population by nationality and country of birth (ONS). These latest figures are available for the year ending December 2011 and will be released annually in August. This short report focuses on annual and regional changes in the UK resident population by nationality and country of birth. It is important to note that these figures are likely to be revised following reweighting of Annual Population Survey estimates (to 2011 Census population) and the key findings in this report will be reviewed and revised in August 2013.
Statistical Bulletin on Parents Country of Birth 2011 (ONS) Data on live births in 2011 by country of birth of mother and father.
The estimates presented by ONS contain final IPS data for all quarters to Dec 2011 and provisional LTIM data for the years ending March 2011, June 2011, September 2011 and December 2011. Final LTIM data for 2011 will be published in November 2012.
Provisional figures allow for a timely comparison of recent migration patterns on a quarterly basis. However, these are subject to change as their calculation is based upon provisional data. The final LTIM estimates are considered to provide a more reliable picture of migration and allow for annual comparisons over time.
Patterns of long-term immigration and emigration differ due to a number of factors that affect particular nationalities including: visa requirements, economic factors and government policies. For example, different visa restrictions apply to different nationalities. The latest visa restrictions, which include the closing of some work visa categories and limits placed on others in late 2010 and spring 2011 respectively, affect those citizens outside the EU applying to work in the UK. Any analysis of migration patterns needs to consider these factors when identifying and explaining key messages. Further guidance on comparing different data sources can be found in the MSQR User Information (151.4 Kb Pdf) .
An overview of population statistics produced by ONS, including information on migration statistics can be found here.
This is the term used in the International Passenger Survey (IPS) to define the country for which a migrant is a passport holder. This refers specifically to the passport being used to enter / leave the UK at the time of interview. It does not refer to any other passport(s) which migrants of multiple citizenship may hold.
More generally a British citizen is someone with citizenship usually through a connection with the UK: birth, adoption, descent, registration, or naturalisation. British citizens have the right of abode in the UK.
The Commonwealth statistical grouping consists of countries of the Old Commonwealth and the New Commonwealth (see below).
This is the range within which the true value of a population parameter lies with known probability. For example the 95 per cent confidence interval represents the range in which there are 19 chances out of 20 that the true figure would fall (had all migrants been surveyed). The uppermost and lowermost values of the confidence interval are termed ‘confidence limits’.
The EEA consists of the 27 countries of the EU (see below), plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
The EU consists of 27 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The Accession countries are those that joined the EU in either 2004 or 2007. Ten joined in 2004 (the EU8, plus Cyprus and Malta), and two joined in 2007 (the EU2).
The EU2 (formerly known as the A2) are the two countries that joined the EU on 1 January 2007: Bulgaria and Romania. EU2 nationals currently have certain restrictions placed on them; in the first 12 months of stay, working Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are generally required to hold an accession worker card or apply for one of two lower-skilled quota schemes. Other Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can apply for a registration certificate, giving proof of a right to live in the UK.
The EU8 (formerly known as the A8) are the eight central and eastern European countries that joined the EU on 1 May 2004: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. The EU8 does not include the two other countries that joined on that date: Cyprus and Malta. EU8 nationals previously had restrictions on their rights to work and were required to register under the Worker Registration Scheme, but since 1 May 2011 EU8 nationals now have the same rights as other workers from the EU and EEA.
A grant of settlement is a grant of indefinite leave to enter (on arrival) or indefinite leave to remain (after entry) to a non-EEA national.
The International Passenger Survey (IPS) is a survey of a random sample of passengers entering and leaving the UK by air, sea or the Channel Tunnel. Over a quarter of a million face-to-face interviews are carried out each year. The IPS is carried out by ONS.
Nationality is often used interchangeably with citizenship, and some datasets refer to ‘nationals’ of a country rather than ‘citizens’. Different datasets have different ways of establishing someone’s nationality. The APS, which underlies the population estimates by nationality, simply asks people ‘what is your nationality?’ However, the IPS, WRS, NINo and entry clearance visa data are based on people’s passports. For asylum statistics the nationality is as stated on the ‘Case Information Database’. This will usually be based on documentary evidence, but sometimes asylum seekers arrive in the UK without any such documentation.
The New Commonwealth statistical grouping consists of African Commonwealth countries (Botswana, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe), Indian subcontinent countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), and other Commonwealth countries in the Asian, Caribbean, and Oceania regions.
It also includes British Dependent Territories and British Overseas citizens. Up to and including 2003 Malta and Cyprus are included in the New Commonwealth grouping. For 2004, the year of accession, they are included in the EU. Malta and Cyprus are members of both the Commonwealth and the European Union from May 2004 onwards. However, for estimation purposes they have only been included in the EU grouping for 2004 onwards.
The Old Commonwealth statistical grouping consists of four countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
The PBS is a rationalisation of immigration control processes for people coming into the UK for the purposes of work or study who are not EEA or Swiss nationals. Entries are classed into five tiers. Tier 1 is for highly skilled workers. Tier 2 is for skilled workers with a job offer. Tier 3 is low skilled workers – this entry route is currently suspended. Tier 4 is for students and Tier 5 is for youth mobility and temporary workers.
Standard error is an estimate of the margin of error associated with a sample survey.
The WRS closed on 30 April 2011; it was a scheme with which EU8 nationals were required to register if they wished to take up employment in the UK. Self-employed workers did not need to register with the WRS.
The following are URL links to the products underlying this report, or otherwise associated with the co-ordinated migration release of 30 August 2012. The department releasing each product is indicated.
The user information sheet (151.4 Kb Pdf) includes guidance on comparing the data sources, and quality information (ONS)
3. Provisional Long-Term International Migration, year ending December 2011 (ONS) - superseded by Long-Term International Migration, 2011
5. Population by country of birth and nationality from the Annual Population Survey: January 2011 to December 2011 (ONS) (252 Kb Excel sheet) and Population by Nationality and Country of Birth datasets (ONS) (2.08 Mb Excel sheet)
Labour Market Statistics August 2012 (ONS). This includes estimates of the number of people in employment in the UK by country of birth and nationality.
Published on 24 November 2011:
Long-Term International Migration 2010 (ONS) - superseded by Long-Term International Migration, 2011
The remaining quarterly migration release date in 2012 is Thursday 29 November.
The final long-term international migration figures for the calendar year 2011 will also be published on 29 November 2012.
The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report is produced in partnership with the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
It also incorporates data supplied by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).
A list of those with Pre-release access (27.3 Kb Pdf) to the MSQR and associated migration products is available.
Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: firstname.lastname@example.org
These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
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