The latest ONS provisional estimates of Long Term International Migration (LTIM)1 show that there was a slight, but not a statistically significant2 increase in net migration to 212,000 in the year ending December 2013 from 177,000 in the previous year. Net migration is the difference between immigration to and emigration from the UK. The net migration figure of 212,000 is unchanged from the previously reported figure for net migration for the year ending September 2013.
526,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending December 2013, compared to 498,000 in the previous year, whilst 314,000 people emigrated from the UK compared to 321,000 in the previous year. Neither of these changes were statistically significant. The chart below shows how these changes compare with trends in UK immigration, emigration and net migration since 1970. Figures for the years ending March, June, September and December 2013 are provisional rolling quarterly estimates and are denoted by a cross. All other figures are final calendar year estimates of LTIM.
Total long-term international migration estimates, UK, 1970 to 2013
Who is migrating to the UK?
Non-EU citizens accounted for 47% of immigration to the UK in the year ending December 2013, with EU citizens accounting for 38% and British citizens 14%. The recent patterns in total net migration have been affected by changes in migration flows between EU citizens and non-EU citizens.
Immigration of EU citizens (excluding British citizens) to the UK in the year ending December 2013 was 201,000, a statistically significant increase from 158,000 in the previous year. Emigration of EU citizens from the UK remained broadly similar over the same period, meaning that net migration of EU citizens saw a statistically significant increase to 124,000, from 82,000 in the previous year.
Conversely, there was a decrease in immigration of non-EU citizens to 249,000 in the year ending December 2013 from 260,000 in the previous year. Net migration of non-EU citizens has experienced a slight (but not a statistically significant) fall to 146,000 from 157,000 in the previous year.
Why are people immigrating to the UK?
The most common reason for migrating to the UK is work. This has been the case historically, with the exception of 2009 to 2012 when study was the most common main reason for migration.
In the year ending December 2013, 177,000 people immigrated to the UK for formal study, whilst 214,000 immigrated for work-related reasons. This is a statistically significant increase from the previous year when 180,000 people immigrated for work-related reasons. Of those immigrating for work-related reasons in the year ending December 2013, 62% (132,000) came with a definite job to go to and 39% (83,000) came to look for work.
Provisional estimates from the International Passenger Survey show that 61% (125,000) of those immigrating for work-related reasons were EU citizens (excluding British citizens), whilst 21% (44,000) were non-EU citizens. Conversely, of those immigrating for formal study, 71% (122,000) were non-EU citizens and 23% (40,000) were EU citizens.
Where can I get more information about migration?
These statistics were analysed by the Migration Statistics Unit at ONS. Long-Term International Migration estimates are based largely on data from the International Passenger Survey, carried out by ONS. If you would like to find out more about the latest international migration statistics, you can read the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report or visit our international migration page. If you have any comments or suggestions, we would like to hear them. Please email us at: email@example.com
1A long-term migrant is defined as someone who changes their country of usual residence for a period of at least a year.
2A change between two estimates is described as ‘statistically significant’ when statistical tests have been carried out to reject the possibility that the change has occurred by chance. For more information about statistical significance, please refer to section 4 of the Long-Term International Migration Frequently Asked Questions and Background Notes.