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Net migration is stabilising after recent fall, according to latest estimates

ONS estimates of Long-Term International Migration in the year to December 2012

The ONS has recently published Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates for the year to December 2012. LTIM is the most comprehensive estimate of long-term migrants entering and leaving the UK. A long-term migrant is defined as someone who changes their country of usual residence for a period of at least a year. This summary looks at: the latest estimates of immigration, emigration and net migration, who is migrating to the UK, why they are migrating and where people are migrating to and from.

What are the latest migration estimates?

The latest provisional migration estimates (published 29 August 2013) show estimates of long-term immigration, emigration and net migration for the UK.

  • Total long-term immigration to the UK was 497,000 in the year to December 2012, significantly lower than the 566,000 estimated in the year to December 2011.

  • Total long-term emigration from the UK was 321,000 in the year to December 2012, significantly lower than the 351,000 estimated in the year to December 2011.

  • Net long-term migration to the UK was 176,000 in the year to December 2012, down slightly, but not significantly, from 215,000 in the year to December 2011.

Changes in net migration are caused by changes in immigration and/or emigration. Between the year to September 2011 and the year to September 2012, net migration declined because of a fall in immigration. However, the latest estimate indicates that this decline has not continued: net migration was 176,000 in the year to December 2012, compared to 153,000 in the year to September 2012. This slight increase is due to falling emigration and steady immigration for these two overlapping periods.

 

Total long-term international migration estimates, UK, 2002–2012

Total long-term international migration estimates, UK, 2002–2012

Notes:

  1. Figures for YE Mar 12, YE Jun 12, YE Sep 12 and YE Dec 12 are provisional.
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals.

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Who is migrating to the UK?

An estimated 260,000 non-EU citizens arrived to live in the UK in the year to December 2012, which is 52% of all immigrants. From within the EU, 155,000 EU citizens (excluding British) migrated to the UK in the year ending December 2012, similar to the estimate of 174,000 the previous year. Of these citizens, 58,000 were citizens of the countries that joined the EU in May 2004: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, known collectively as the EU8.

Why are people migrating?

Work-related reasons and formal study are now almost equal as the most common reasons for migrating to the UK. Study has been the most common reason for migrating to the UK since 2009, but the number of people arriving for this reason has been falling since the year to September 2011. In the year to December 2012, an estimated 180,000 people migrated to the UK for study, which is significantly lower than the 232,000 people who arrived to study 12 months previously.

Meanwhile, the number of people arriving for work-related reasons has broadly remained the same. In the year to December 2012, an estimated 179,000 people migrated to the UK for work-related reasons, compared to 184,000 12 months previously. Of these people, 112,000 (63%) arrived for a definite job.

Where are people migrating from ?

Estimates of where people are migrating from or intend to emigrate to for 2012 will be published on 28 November 2013, so this section refers to the 2011 estimates. The top five countries of origin of immigrants to the UK (including what percentage of all immigration to the UK they accounted for) in 2011 were: India (12%), China (8%), Pakistan (8%), Poland (6%) and Australia (5%).

There was a significant increase in the numbers of migrants coming to the UK from China, from 29,000 in 2010 to 44,000 in 2011. The majority (40,000) of these intended to study in the UK. There has also been an increase in the number of migrants from Pakistan, to 43,000 in 2011, with 30,000 arriving to study. Over the last five years, fourth and fifth places in the ranking have fluctuated between Australia, Germany, the USA, Pakistan and China.

Where are people intending to emigrate to?

The top five countries of destination for emigrants from the UK (including what percentage of all emigration from the UK they accounted for) in 2011 were: Australia (15%), India (7%), USA (7%), Poland (6%) and France (6%). Australia remains the most popular country of destination for emigrants from the UK. In 2011, final estimates show that 49,000 emigrants from the UK intended to live in Australia. Of this number, 36,000 were British citizens.

There was an increase in emigration to India between 2010 and 2011, from 15,000 to 23,000. This increase made India the joint second most common country to emigrate to in 2011, alongside the USA. Poland was the second most common destination in 2008 at 50,000, but now shares fourth place with France, each with 20,000 emigrants leaving the UK in 2011.

Where can I get more information about migration?

These statistics were analysed by the Migration Statistics Unit at the ONS. Long-Term International Migration estimates are based largely on data from the International Passenger Survey, carried out by the ONS. If you’d like to find out more about the latest international migration statistics, you can read the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report or visit our migration page. If you have any comments or suggestions, we’d like to hear them! Please email us at: migstatsunit@ons.gov.uk.

Categories: Population, Migration, International Migration
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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