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 24 May 2012. It also links to other migration products (including Internal 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. 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 February’s edition. We have added to our ‘Who is migrating to and from the UK?’ section by including a chart showing migration patterns of citizens from the rest of the EU (excluding British). This produces a more complete section than the detail previously published. 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.
We would welcome your response to our Consultation on International Migration Statistical Outputs. We want to hear from as many users of our migration statistics as possible so that we can continue to ensure that we produce statistics and reports that are as relevant and useful to you as possible. Please note that this consultation closes on 5 July 2012.
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 September 2011 was 589,000, similar to the level seen since 2004.
Estimated total long-term emigration from the UK in the year to September 2011 was 338,000. This compares to 345,000 in the year to September 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 September 2011 was 252,000, which is the same as the final estimate of 252,000 in 2010. Net migration has remained broadly at similar levels since the year to September 2010, was estimated at 255,000.
Study remains the most common reason for migrating to the UK since December 2009 at 250,000 for the year to September 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 343,000 non-EU citizens arrived to live in the UK in the year to September 2011, which is 58 per cent of all immigrants. This is slightly higher than the estimate of 326,000 who arrived in the year to September 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:
In the year to March 2012 the overall number of entry clearance visas issued for work and study was 439,855, a 13 per cent decrease on the year to March 2011 (507,939).
In the year to March 2012 a total of 148,498 work-related visas were issued, a decrease of eight per cent on 161,775 in the year to March 2011. The number of visas issued for the purposes of study was 291,357 in the year to March 2012, a fall of 16 per cent on 346,164 in the year to March 2011.
671,000 National Insurance numbers (NINos) were allocated to non-UK nationals in the year to December 2011, an increase of one per cent on the year to December 2010.
182,000 NINos were allocated to EU8 nationals in the year to December 2011, an increase of three per cent on the year to December 2010.
This section shows the latest available figures from the following sources:
Long-term international migration figures in the year to September 2011.
Entry clearance visas issued by the Home Office up to March 2012.
National insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals up to December 2011.
The provisional estimate of total long-term international immigration to the UK in the year to September 2011 was 589,000. 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 September 2011 was 338,000, similar to 345,000 in the year to September 2010 but 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 September 2011 was 252,000. Net migration has remained similar since the year to September 2010 when it was estimated as 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 March 2012 was 439,855, a 13 per cent decrease on the year to March 2011 (507,939). (Figure 3.12)
671,000 National Insurance numbers (NINos) were allocated to non-UK nationals in the year to December 2011, an increase of one per cent on the year to December 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 allocations to overseas nationals.
Long-term international migration estimates by citizenship show that in the year to September 2011 the estimated number of British citizens immigrating long-term to the UK was 81,000. In the year to September 2010 there were 92,000 British citizens immigrating. The estimated number of British citizens emigrating long-term from the UK in the year to September 2011 was 142,000 not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 136,000 in the year to September 2010. (Figure 2.11)
The estimated number of non-British citizens immigrating long-term to the UK in the year to September 2011 was 508,000, the same as the estimate for the year to September 2010. The estimated number of non-British citizens emigrating long-term from the UK was 196,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 209,000 in the year to September 2010. (Figure 2.12)
An estimated 165,000 citizens from the EU (excluding British) migrated to the UK in the year to September 2011, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 182,000 in the year to September 2010. The estimated number of EU citizens (excluding British) emigrating from the UK was 91,000 in the year to September 2011, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 101,000 who emigrated in the year to September 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 September 2011 was 75,000 not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 86,000 in the year to September 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 September 2011 was 39,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 36,000 in the year to September 2010. (Figure 2.22)
The estimated number of non-EU citizens immigrating long-term to the UK in the year to September 2011 was 343,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 326,000 in the year to September 2010. The estimated number of non-EU citizens emigrating from the UK in the year to September 2011 was 105,000, similar to the estimate of 108,000 in the year to September 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 December 2011 was 671,000, an increase of 4,000 (one per cent) on the year to December 2010.
The proportion of NINos allocated to Accession nationals (that is those of all 12 Accession countries –see Glossary) in the year to December 2011 is 33 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)
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, which has been steadily rising since 2009. An estimated 250,000 long term migrants arrived to the UK for formal study in the year to September 2011. This is the highest recorded estimate but is not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 245,000 in the year to September 2010.
The second most common reason given by migrants to the UK is work-related, which was 184,000 in the year to September 2011. This is similar to the estimate of 204,000 in the year to September 2010 but 24 per cent lower than the peak of 242,000 in the year to December 2007. (Figure 3.11)
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 September 2011, approximately two thirds (107,000) of migrants from these countries immigrated to the UK to study. Citizens from these countries make up 43 per cent of the IPS estimate of 246,000 immigrants who came to the UK to study in the year to September 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 March 2012, a total of 148,498 were work related. This was a decrease of eight per cent on 161,775 in the year ending March 2011. These include (Figure 3.13):
21,564 Tier 1 (highly skilled workers) visas or equivalents,
66,968 Tier 2 (skilled workers) visas or equivalents,
37,756 temporary visas under Tier 5 (youth mobility and temporary workers) or equivalent,
594 pre-PBS visas that cannot be allocated to a tier,
21,616 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 291,357 in the year ending March 2012, a decrease of 16 per cent on 346,164 in the year ending March 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 267,873 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 a 20 per cent decrease overall in the number of visas issued for the purposes of study to the year ending March 2012 (Figure 3.12).
Compared with the year ending September 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 March 2012 (all visas, -11%; work, -2%; study, -15%; family, -10%). 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 March 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 one per cent lower in Q1 2012 (4,818) compared with Q1 2011 (4,844) (Figure 3.14).
Comparing the year ending March 2011 with the year ending March 2012, the number of people granted settlement in the UK fell by 35 per cent from 226,478 to 148,144. Family formation and reunion grants fell by 19 per cent to 48,676, employment-related grants fell by 6 per cent to 70,916 and other grants, including those on a discretionary basis, fell by 81 per cent to 15,820. There was an increase in asylum-related grants (up 71 per cent to 12,732). (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 190,000 people emigrated from the UK for work related reasons in the year ending September 2011, similar to the estimated 192,000 who emigrated in the year ending September 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 142,000 in the year to September 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 24 May 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 online internal migration dataset (ONS) (310.3 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.
Population by country of birth and nationality from the Annual Population Survey: October 2010 to September 2011 (ONS). (251 Kb Excel sheet) These tables show estimates of the UK resident population by country of birth and nationality.
The estimates presented by ONS contain final data (to 2010) and provisional data for the year ending March 2011, June 2011 and September 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. (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 24 May 2012. The department releasing each product is indicated.
The user information (151.4 Kb Pdf) sheet includes guidance on comparing the data sources, and quality information (ONS).
3. Provisional Long-Term International Migration, year ending September 2011 (ONS)
4. Local area migration indicators (ONS)
Labour Market Statistics May 2012 (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 30 August,
Thursday 29 November.
The final long-term international migration figures for the calendar year 2011 will be published in November 2012.
A list of those with
pre-release access (27.6 Kb Pdf)
to the MSQR and associated migration products is available on the ONS website.
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