The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR) is a summary of the quarterly releases of official international migration data. This edition covers those quarterly datasets released on 23 February. It also links to other migration products (including internal migration and short-term migration) released on that date.
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’ 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.
Since the last quarterly report, we have made some improvements to our processing system of Long-Term International Migration (LTIM). This means that this February 2012 edition includes detailed provisional estimates of LTIM, which are more comprehensive than estimates that were previously only available from the International Passenger Survey (IPS). Section 5 of this report includes information on the changes that have been made to the report. Web links are provided at the back of the reports for those who wish to access the underlying datasets. Guidance on comparing data from different sources can be found in the User Information (137.2 Kb Pdf) .
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)
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 June 2011 was 593,000, similar to the level seen since 2004
Estimated total long-term emigration from the UK in the year to June 2011 was 343,000. This compares to 347,000 in the year to June 2010. Emigration had declined from a peak of 427,000 in 2008 to 336,000 in the year to March 2011
Estimated net long-term migration to the UK in the year to June 2011 was 250,000. This is similar to the final estimate of 252,000 in 2010. The year to June 2010 had a net migration figure of 235,000 and net migration has fluctuated since, reaching a peak of 255,000 in the year to September 2010
Study remains the most common reason for migrating to the UK since December 2009 at 242,000 for the year to June 2011
Immigration of citizens from New Commonwealth countries is now at its highest recorded level of 170,000. Provisional International Passenger Survey estimates (IPS) suggest that two thirds of these citizens arrived to the UK for study, which was nearly half (46 per cent) of all those travelling to the UK for study. Further detail by individual country is not available for provisional data, however final estimates for 2010 show that 75 per cent of arrivals from New Commonwealth countries were from the Indian Subcontinent
Further information on these data are available in Section 6 of this report.
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:
In the year to December 2011 the overall number of entry clearance visas issued for work and study was 471,834, a five per cent decrease on the year to December 2010 (495,480)
690,000 National Insurance numbers (NINos) were allocated to non-UK nationals in the year to September 2011, an increase of 11 per cent on the year to September 2010
183,000 NINos were allocated to EU8 nationals in the year to September 2011, an increase of 14 per cent on the year to September 2010
This section shows the latest available figures from the following sources:
Long-term international migration figures in the year to June 2011
Entry clearance visas issued by the Home Office up to December 2011
National Insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals up to September 2011
The provisional estimate of total long-term international immigration to the UK in the year to June 2011 was 593,000. 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 June 2011 was 343,000, similar to 347,000 in the year June 2010 but is lower than the year to December 2008, when total emigration from the UK peaked at an estimated at 427,000. (Figure 1.1)
The provisional estimate of net long-term migration to the UK in the year to June 2011 was 250,000. Net migration has varied since the year to June 2010 when it was estimated as 235,000. It reached a peak in the year to September 2010 at 255,000 (Figure 1.1). 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 December 2011 was 471,834, a five per cent decrease on the year to December 2010 (495,480). (Figure 3.12)
690,000 National Insurance numbers (NINos) were allocated to non-UK nationals in the year to September 2011, an increase of 11 per cent on the year to September 2010.
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 (NINos) allocations to overseas nationals.
Long-term international migration estimates by citizenship show that in the year to June 2011 the estimated number of British citizens immigrating long-term to the UK was 88,000. In the year to June 2010 there were 96,000 British citizens immigrating. The estimated number of British citizens emigrating long-term from the UK in the year to June 2011 was 143,000 an increase of 12 per cent on the estimate of 128,000 in the year to June 2010. (Figure 2.11)
The estimated number of non-British citizens immigrating long-term to the UK in the year to June 2011 was 505,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 487,000 in the year to June 2010. The estimated number of non-British citizens emigrating long-term from the UK was 200,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 219,000 in the year to June 2010. (Figure 2.12)
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 June 2011 was 86,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 72,000 in the year to June 2010 (note that the small number of EU8 migrants in the IPS sample means that a change must be large for it to have sufficient certainty to be regarded as statistically significant). The equivalent estimate for the immigration of citizens from the remainder of the EU (excluding Britain and the EU8) was 89,000 in the year to June 2011, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 104,000 in the year to June 2010.
The estimated number of EU8 citizens emigrating from the UK in the year to June 2011 was 40,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 46,000 in the year to June 2010. (Figure 2.2). The equivalent estimate for the emigration of citizens of the remainder of the EU (excluding Britain and EU8) was 56,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 58,000 in the year to June 2010.
The estimated number of non-EU citizens immigrating long-term to the UK in the year to June 2011 was 330,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 311,000 in the year to June 2010. The estimated number of non-EU citizens emigrating from the UK in the year to June 2011 was 104,000 not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 115,000 in the year to June 2010. (Figure 2.3)
There has been an increase in the estimated number of New Commonwealth citizens immigrating to the UK. In the year to June 2011, an estimated 170,000 people from New Commonwealth countries immigrated to the UK. This is the highest recorded estimate. Provisional data are not available by individual country, but final figures released in November 2011 show that 75 per cent of arrivals from New Commonwealth countries in 2010 were from the Indian Subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka).
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 September 2011 was 690,000, an increase of 67,000 (11 per cent) on the year to September 2010.
The proportion of NINos allocated to Accession nationals (that is those of all 12 Accession countries –see Glossary) in the year to September 2011 is 32 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 (137.2 Kb Pdf) .
Provisional LTIM data show that in the year to June 2011 the estimated number of long-term migrants whose main reason for entering the UK was work-related was 195,000. This is similar to the estimate of 196,000 in the year to June 2010 but 20 per cent lower than the recent peak of 242,000 in the year to December 2007. (Figure 3.11)
The estimated number of long-term migrants whose main reason for entering the UK was formal study was 242,000 in the year to June 2011, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 235,000 in the year to June 2010. Study has been the most common reason stated for immigration to the UK since 2009 and has been steadily rising, reaching a peak of 245,000 in the year to September 2010.
International Passenger Survey (IPS) data allow for further analysis within categories that is not possible with LTIM estimates. A cross tabulation of citizenship by reason for migrating shows that there has been a rise in New Commonwealth citizens arriving to the UK to study. In the year to June 2011, two thirds (109,000) of the citizens from New Commonwealth countries immigrated to the UK to study. Citizens from these countries make up 46 per cent of the total 235,000 immigrants who came to the UK to study in the year to June 2011. This proportion has increased steadily over time from approximately a quarter in 2002 to a third in 2006 and is now nearly a half.
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 December 2011, a total of 149,181 were work related. This was a decrease of seven per cent on 160,743 in the year ending December 2010. These include (Figure 3.13):
22,793 Tier 1 (highly skilled workers) visas or equivalents
66,366 Tier 2 (skilled workers) visas or equivalents
37,920 temporary visas under Tier 5 (youth mobility and temporary workers) or equivalent
666 pre-PBS visas that cannot be allocated to a tier
21,436 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 249,635 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 161,775 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 322,653 in the year ending December 2011, a decrease of four per cent on 334,737 in the year ending December 2010. 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 267,873 in the year ending June 2009, after which it increased sharply, peaking at 362,048 in the year ending June 2010, a rise of 35 per cent on a year earlier. Following this peak there has been an 11 per cent decrease overall in the number of visas issued for the purposes of study to the year ending December 2011(Figure 3.12)
For information on comparing entry clearance data to IPS data on reasons for migration please refer to the User Information (137.2 Kb Pdf) .
In addition to the visas information the Home Office has released provisional quarterly figures up to December 2011 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 thirteen per cent higher in Q4 2011 (5,261) compared with Q4 2010 (4,659) (Figure 3.14).
Comparing the year ending 2010 with the year ending 2011, the number of people granted settlement in the UK fell by 32 per cent from 241,192 to 163,477. Family formation and reunion grants fell by 27 per cent to 50,793, employment-related grants fell by 17 per cent to 69,904 and other grants, including those on a discretionary basis, fell by 64 per cent to 29,892. There was an increase in asylum-related grants (up 161 per cent to 12,888). (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 56 per cent of emigrants. An estimated 191,000 people emigrated from the UK for work related reasons in the year ending June 2011, similar to the estimated 198,000 who emigrated in the year ending June 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. 60 per cent of those emigrating for work related reasons have a definite job and the remaining 40 per cent intend to look for work. These proportions have remained fairly constant over time.
Other migration and population products published on 23 February 2012 include:
Local area migration indicators suite (ONS). 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
The latest information on ONS’s programme to improve migration and population statistics
The online internal migration dataset (274.8 Kb ZIP) contains a full matrix of migration flows between each country/region, and is available for every quarter since the year to June 2002. Data for earlier years are available on request
Short-Term Migration mid-2010 for England and Wales (ONS). International Passenger Survey (IPS) based estimates referring to flows to and from England and Wales as well as the average stock of short-term migrants present in or absent from England and Wales. Statistics are provided for migration of periods between 3 and 12 months and 1 and 12 months
Some substantial changes were made to the structure of the MSQR in August 2011. Feedback from users was positive and the report has continued to focus on the key elements of: what do the latest figures show, who is migrating and why people are migrating into and out of the UK.
We have continued to improve our reporting of migration statistics by introducing a new processing system. This has enabled us to widen the scope of provisional estimates of Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) to include detail that was only previously available from the International Passenger Survey (IPS). LTIM provides a more comprehensive estimate of migration as it makes adjustments to the IPS to take account of Northern Ireland border crossings, figures on asylum and visitor and migrant ‘switchers’ (those people whose intentions have changed from being a migrant or a visitor to or from the UK). Provisional LTIM figures are now available for all tables with the exception of the cross tabulation of citizenship by reason for migrating. This table is included as it provides valuable information about migration patterns into and out of the UK, but this level of detail is not available for the additional adjustments that are applied to LTIM estimates.
Charts 1 to 3 of Provisional Long-Term International Migration (541 Kb Excel sheet) within the data section now contain new functionality which allows for the viewer to scroll through migration estimates by categories of citizenship groups and reason for migrating. This functionality provides a user friendly way of quickly identifying the main drivers behind changes in migration patterns.
If you have any comments or suggestions on the MSQR or the migration tables and charts please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
The estimates presented by ONS contain final data (to 2010) and provisional data for the year ending March 2011 and June 2011. Final 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 (137.2 Kb Pdf) .
For information on population and migration statistics produced by ONS see An Overview of Population Statistics.
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. 10 joined in 2004 (the EU8, plus Cyprus and Malta), and 2 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 following are URL links to the products underlying this report, or otherwise associated with the co-ordinated migration release of 23 February 2012. The department releasing each product is indicated.
The User Information (137.2 Kb Pdf) sheet includes guidance on comparing the data sources, and quality information (ONS)
Local area migration indicators (ONS)
Labour Market Statistics February 2011 (ONS). This includes estimates of the number of people in employment in the UK by country of birth and nationality.
The quarterly migration release dates in 2012 are:
Thursday 24 May
Thursday 30 August
Thursday 29 November
The final long-term international migration figures for the calendar year 2011 will be published in November 2012.
Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the media office
Issued by: Office for National Statistics, Government Buildings, Cardiff Road, Newport NP10 8XG
Next publication: 24 May 2012
Statististical contact / queries:
Name Sarah Crofts
Telephone: Migration Statistics Unit (general enquiries) 01329 444097
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).
National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
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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: email@example.com
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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