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Video podcast - International migration to and from the UK, year ending December 2013

Released: 22 May 2014

Also in this release

Slide 1

This is a short video looking at patterns of long-term international migration to and from the United Kingdom, presenting the latest provisional estimates for the year ending December 2013

Slide 2

This first chart shows patterns of immigration (that’s migrants arriving in to the UK for a period of 12 months or more), emigration (that’s migrants leaving the UK for 12 months or more), and net migration (the difference between immigration and emigration).

Immigration rose sharply during the late 1990s and continued to increase following EU accession in 2004. The latest provisional estimate showed that 526,000 migrants moved to the UK in the year ending December 2013.

Emigration has remained broadly steady over the last 40 years, albeit with a slight rise in the last 10 years reflecting rising immigration. The latest provisional estimate shows that 314,000 migrants emigrated from the UK in the year ending December 2013.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, net migration was at a relatively low level, but rose sharply after 1997. The latest provisional estimates show net migration was 212,000 for the year ending December 2013. The estimate is higher than the figure of 177,000 in the previous year, although not a statistically significant increase. However, net migration remains unchanged when compared to the figure reported last quarter for the year ending September 2013.

Recent patterns of net migration over the last two years show an increase since the lowest estimate of 154,000 (year ending September 2012). However, net migration has continued to be lower than the general level of net migration since 2004.

Please note that net migration estimates for the UK between 2001 and 2011 have been revised in light of the results of the 2011 Census. The Census showed that net migration had been underestimated during the decade, and so the revised net migration estimates are higher than those published previously.

Slide 3

This chart shows how the patterns of migration vary between EU citizens (not including British citizens) and non-EU citizens. Net migration of EU citizens was 124,000 in the year ending December 2013, a statistically significant increase from 82,000 in the previous year. This means that the estimated increase is likely to reflect a real change in migration patterns. This increase has been driven by increased levels of immigration and steady emigration.

By contrast net migration of non-EU citizens fell to 146,000 in the year ending December 2013, due to falling immigration alongside steady emigration.

Slide 4

The two main reasons why migrants come to live in the UK are for work and study. Traditionally work has been the most common reason for migration, although study overtook work between 2009 and 2012. In the year ending December 2013, 214,000 migrants arrived for work, a statistically significant increase from 180,000 in the previous year. There was an estimated 177,000 migrants arriving to study. The other reasons for migration have remained fairly steady, as shown by the graph.

Slide 5

Let’s look at EU migration in more detail. The latest estimates from the International Passenger Survey show that in the year ending December 2013, 99,000 EU15 citizens, 61,000 EU8 citizens and 23,000 EU2 citizens migrated to the UK. Immigration of EU15 and EU2 citizens have shown a statistically significant increase relative to the previous year, whilst immigration of EU8 citizens has remained relatively steady compared to the previous year. 63% of migrants from the EU15 arrived for work, compared to 75% of migrants from the EU8 and 70% of migrants from the EU2. There was also a statistically significant increase in immigration for formal study from citizens of the EU15 countries.

Slide 6

Every person who works in the UK requires a National Insurance Number, or NINo for short. It is important to note that the registration of a NINo can occur many months or years after a person has immigrated to the UK. In the year ending March 2014, there were 603,000 NINo's allocated to adult overseas nationals, an increase of 7% from the previous year. Polish nationals continue to receive the most NINo allocations - 102,000 in the year ending March 2014, an increase of 11,000 (12%) on the previous year. NINo registrations to citizens of the EU2 were amongst the largest increases. Registrations to Romanian nationals increased by 29,000 to 47,000 (an increase of 163%) in the year ending March 2014 and registrations to Bulgarian nationals increased by 7,000 to 18,000 (an increase of 71%). Other increases of note include registrations to Italian nationals – an increase of 9,000 to 42,000 (an increase of 28%).

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

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    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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