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Statistical bulletin: Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, November 2013 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 28 November 2013 Download PDF

Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, November 2013

  • 503,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending June 2013, compared to the 517,000 people who immigrated during the previous year.
  • Emigration is at its lowest level since 2001. In the year ending June 2013, 320,000 emigrants left the UK, which is lower than the 349,000 people who emigrated during the previous year. The fall in emigration is driving an increase in net migration.
  • There was a net flow of 182,000 long-term migrants to the UK in the year ending June 2013, the first annual increase for two years. However, this is not a statistically significant difference from the 167,000 in the year ending June 2012.
  • Immigration of non-EU citizens saw a statistically significant decrease to 242,000 in the year ending June 2013 from 282,000 the previous year. Fewer New Commonwealth citizens migrated to the UK for formal study, now similar to estimates in 2005/06.
  • 183,000 EU citizens immigrated in the year ending June 2013, not a statistically significant change from the estimate of 158,000 for the previous year. There was a statistically significant increase in EU15 citizens arriving for work-related reasons
  • 202,000 people arrived for work in the year ending June 2013, now once again the most common reason for immigration, overtaking formal study for the first time since 2009. 176,000 people arrived for study.
  • The number of visas issued, excluding visitor and transit visas, was 526,736 in the year ending September 2013, 4% higher (+18,536) than the previous year.
  • In the year ending September 2013, there were increases in the numbers of visas issued for the purposes of work (+5% to 152,139) and for study (+3% to 216,895, excluding student visitors) where university sponsored applications rose 7%.
  • In the year ending September 2013, there were 33,747 family-related visas issued, 20% fewer than in the previous year, and the lowest since comparable records began in 2005.
  • 1.9 million visitor visas were issued in the year ending September 2013, 15% more (+256,367) than the previous year. Increases were seen in visitor visas issued to Chinese (+80,755), Russian (+37,405), Kuwaiti (+23,507), Indian (+20,749) and Saudi Arabian (+18,030) nationals.

Introduction

This edition of the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR) includes provisional estimates of international migration for the year ending June 2013 and further detail available from final Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates for 2012.

The MSQR series brings together statistics on migration that are published quarterly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). There is considerable interest in migration statistics both nationally and internationally, particularly in relation to the impact of migration on society and on the economy. Migration estimates are a fundamental component of ONS’s 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. Additionally, migration statistics are used by the government to monitor the impact of immigration policy, and their performance against their target of reducing annual net migration to the tens of thousands by 2015. 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 (329.4 Kb Pdf) (137 Kb Pdf). For information on the accuracy of these statistics, the difference between provisional and final figures and guidance on comparing different data sources, please see the MSQR Information for Users (442.4 Kb Pdf) . If you are new to migration statistics, you might find it helpful to read our 'International Migration Statistics First Time User Guide' (354.8 Kb Pdf) .

New for this release:

  • Provisional LTIM and International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates have been brought forward by one quarter, improving their timeliness so that they are now published with a 5 month lag to the reference period. This edition of the MSQR therefore presents new data for both the year ending March 2013 and for the year ending June 2013.

  • A short story has been published called ‘Why did emigrants previously arrive to live in the UK?’. This presents further analyses from the new IPS question, introduced in 2012, which asks current emigrants, who had previously immigrated to the UK, about their main reason for migration at the time that they immigrated to the UK.

  • The International Migration timeline  has been improved to enable users to see trends in immigration, emigration and net migration by British, EU and non-EU citizenship from 1964 to 2012. 

  • Static world maps have been published showing at 5-yearly intervals from 1992 to 2012 the top countries of last and next residence of long-term international migrants to and from the UK.

  • Optional shading has been added to data tables to show where statistically significant changes have occurred in migration flows since the previous year.

  • A new category ‘Going home to live’ has been added to IPS data tables as an additional main reason for migration.

  • A new first time User Guide for migration statistics (354.8 Kb Pdf) has been published.

ONS has published revised net migration figures as components of change in revised mid-year population estimates from the year to mid-2002 to the year to mid-2010 for England and Wales. These take into account the results from the 2011 Census, and included a revision to the net migration component, focussed primarily on immigration during the middle part of the decade before improvements were made to the IPS in 2009. The methods used to revise the mid-year population estimates are explained in a report published in December 2012.
The table below provides an at-a-glance comparison of final LTIM estimates for England and Wales, with the revised net migration components of the mid-year population estimates for England and Wales.

Table: Revised Net International Migration estimates for England and Wales. 2002 to 2011

Thousands
  Final LTIM net migration estimate1 New mid-year estimate net migration (revised)2 Difference between  revised mid-year estimate net migration and final LTIM net migration estimate
2001-2002 148                      171                               23
2002-2003 151                      173                               22
2003-2004 174                      190                               16
2004-2005 253                      302                               49
2005-2006 167                      217                               50
2006-2007 186                      252                               66
2007-2008 180                      244                               64
2008-2009 146                      181                               35
2009-2010 214                      220                                 6
2010-2011 224                      237                               13

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. LTIM – Table 2.10 Long-Term International Migration time series, 1991-1992 to 2010-2011 Citizenship, 29 November 2012
  2. ONS Mid-Year population estimates for England and Wales

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ONS has been reviewing the quality of LTIM for the time periods shown above and this review will be published early in 2014 when revised UK based estimates for net migration are available. For more information, including the provisional results of this review, please see the Qualitity of Long Term International Migration estimates 2001 to 2011.

1. What do these latest figures show about international migration over time?

This section describes the latest international migration statistics within the context of the historical time series of the statistics, setting out the likely drivers behind the trends observed. It shows the latest available figures from the following sources:

  1. Provisional long-term international migration figures for the year ending June 2013.

  2. Final long-term international migration figures for 2012.

  3. Entry clearance visas issued by the Home Office up to September 2013.

  4. National insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals up to September 2013.

  5. Labour market statistics on employment by nationality and country of birth, July to September 2013.

The Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) datasets use the UN definition of a long-term international migrant, that is someone who moves from their country of previous residence for a period of at least a year.

The latest long-term international migration estimates for the year ending June 2013 show that:

  • 503,000 people immigrated to the UK;

  • 320,000 people emigrated from the UK;

  • net migration (the difference between these figures) was 182,000. (Please note that totals may not sum due to rounding.)

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 normally required for those wanting to come to the UK for over six months, or for work.

Excluding visitor and transit visas, the number of visas issued increased to 526,736 in the year ending September 2013. This was 4% higher than the year ending September 2012 (508,200).

1.1 Changes in net migration

Figure 1.1 Long Term International Migration, 1964 to 2012 (annual), year ending June 2013 (provisional)

Figure 1.1 Long Term International Migration, 1964 to 2012 (annual), year ending June 2013 (provisional)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for YE Mar 13 and YE June 13 are provisional

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Net migration is the difference between the estimated number of immigrants arriving to the UK for at least one year and the estimated number of emigrants leaving the UK for at least one year. During the 1960s and 1970s, there were more people emigrating from the UK than arriving to live in the UK. During the 1980s and early 1990s, net migration was positive at a relatively low level in the majority of years. Since 1994, it has been positive every year and rose sharply after 1997. During the 2000s, net migration peaked in 2004/05, in part as a result of immigration of citizens from the countries that joined the EU in 2004. Since the peak, annual net migration has fluctuated between around 150,000 and 250,000. Latest provisional estimates show net migration was 182,000 in the year ending June 2013.

Please note, for the period from 2001 to 2011, revised net migration figures for England and Wales have been published in light of the results of the 2011 Census. The revised figures are published separately with further information in the MSQR Information for Users (442.4 Kb Pdf) . Additionally, ONS has been reviewing the quality of LTIM estimates from 2001 to 2011. Provisional results of this work can be found here (37 Kb Pdf) .

The changes to net migration shown in Figure 1.1 have been caused by changes in immigration and emigration. In some years, net migration increased as a result of increased immigration (for example, in 2004/2005) and in other years it has increased because emigration has fallen (for example in 2007). Latest figures for the year ending June 2013 show that immigration has decreased slightly (although not a statistically significant change) by 14,000 to 503,000 from 517,000 during the previous year. However, the effect of this decrease on net migration has been offset over the same period by a fall of 29,000 in emigration from 349,000 to 320,000, resulting in an increase in net migration of 15,000.

Three quarters of immigration and two thirds of emigration to and from the UK are people migrating to work or study. Changes in flows of people migrating for these reasons affect the overall flows to and from the UK (Figure 3.11). Different changes in migration patterns are seen between EU and non-EU citizens, driven by the different rights to immigrate to the UK and the impact of government policy. Most of the 526,736 visas issued to non-EEA nationals in the year ending September 2013 were for study (216,895, excluding student visitors) or for work (152,139). In addition, 76,672 student visitor and 33,747 family–related visas were issued (Figure 3.12).

1.2 Migration for work

The most commonly stated reasons for immigrating to the UK are work-related. This has been the case historically, with the exception of 2009 to 2012 when study was the most common main reason for immigration. LTIM estimates show that immigration for work peaked in the years 2005 to 2007 at around 240,000, but has since declined reaching a low of 173,000 in the year ending June 2012. This pattern is also reflected in National Insurance numbers (NINos) issued to non-UK nationals immigrating for work, regardless of how long they stay in the UK. The number of NINos allocated to non-UK nationals show a peak of 797,000 in 2007 following a steady increase since 2004. Since then they have fluctuated around 600,000, falling to a low of 519,000 in 2012.

Immigration for work has recently increased as shown by several data sources.

  • LTIM estimates show that in the year ending June 2013, 202,000 people migrated to the UK for work-related reasons. This is a statistically significant increase of 29,000 people since the previous year.

  • In the year ending September 2013, 598,000 NINos were allocated to non-UK nationals, which is an increase of 61,000 from the previous year.

  • Labour market statistics show that the number of non-UK nationals in employment increased by 26,000 to 2.64 million in July to September 2013 from the same quarter in the previous year (2.62 million).

  • In the year ending September 2013, a total of 152,139 work-related visas were issued to non-EEA nationals, an increase of 5% (+6,581) compared to the previous year. 

Since 2007, around half of immigrants arriving for work have been EU citizens and 25 to 30% have been non-EU citizens. Prior to EU Accession in 2004, these proportions were reversed, which reflects the increase in the numbers of EU citizens migrating to the UK for work since 2004 combined with a steady decrease in the numbers of non-EU citizens arriving for work over the same period. In 2004, 113,000 non-EU citizens arrived for work. This has steadily declined to 42,000 in the year ending June 2013. The steady decline is also seen in the numbers of work-related visas issued to non-EEA nationals. In the year ending September 2013, a total of 152,139 work-related visas were issued, which although showing a recent rise of 5% compared with the previous year, is lower than the peak of 249,634 work-related visas issued in the year ending December 2006. The number of NINos allocated to nationals of Asia and the Middle East has recently fallen by 14% to 92,000 in the year to September 2013 since the previous year.

Immigration for work from within the EU has shown a different pattern. In 2004, 65,000 EU citizens migrated to the UK for work (IPS estimate). This peaked at 125,000 in 2007, remained steady at around 90,000 from 2008 to 2012 and has recently shown a statistically significant increase to 118,000 in the year ending June 2013 from 83,000 in the previous year. NINos allocated to EU citizens show a similar recent increase of 23% from 344,000 in the year ending September 2012 to 422,000 in the year ending September 2013.

The recent increase in EU citizens arriving for work has been driven by a statistically significant increase in EU15 citizens arriving for a definite job. In the year ending June 2013, 38,000 EU15 citizens migrated to the UK for a definite job, which is the highest recorded estimate for this group and is an increase from 26,000 the previous year. A similar rise is shown in the NINo allocations (Figure 3.15) which have increased by 31% to 197,000 in the year ending September 2013.

When immigration of EU8 citizens reached its peak of 112,000 in 2007, four out of every five arrived for work-related reasons. Nationals of the EU Accession countries accounted for 46% of all new NINo allocations to non-UK nationals during the peak of 797,000 in 2007. Since 2008, immigration of EU8 citizens for work-related reasons has remained steady, usually between 40,000 and 50,000 per year. The UK recession started in 2008, which may have had an impact on people migrating to the UK for work-related reasons. Latest IPS figures estimate that 46,000 EU8 citizens immigrated to the UK for work in the year ending June 2013, which is not a statistically significant difference from the 37,000 who immigrated for work the previous year. The numbers of NINos allocated to nationals of the EU Accession countries have recently increased by 17% to 225,000 in the year ending September 2013 compared to 193,000 in the previous year.

Similarly to immigration, the most common reasons provided by people emigrating from the UK are also work-related. Emigration for all reasons peaked at 427,000 in 2008 and steadily declined to 320,000 in the year ending June 2013. British citizens are the largest single nationality of emigrants from the UK (44% of all emigrants). Emigration of British citizens peaked at 207,000 in 2006, fell to a low of 128,000 in the year ending June 2010 and 141,000 emigrated in the year ending June 2013. Just over half (57%) of British citizens emigrating did so for work-related reasons in the year ending June 2013.

1.3 Migration for study

Over the last decade, there have been substantial changes in the number of people migrating to the UK to study. Around 140,000 to 150,000 people immigrated annually to study in the UK during the early 2000s. This started to increase from 2008 to a peak of 246,000 in the year ending September 2011. Since then the number has steadily declined to 176,000 in the year ending June 2013.

Until 2006, similar numbers of citizens from non-EU countries arrived for work and study. This changed both as a result of economic conditions and changes in immigration policy from 2009 to 2012. During this time, over 100,000 more non-EU citizens immigrated for study than for work-related reasons. The recent decline in people arriving to study has been in the non-university sectors and predominantly from citizens of New Commonwealth countries. IPS estimates show that over 100,000 New Commonwealth citizens immigrated annually to the UK to study in 2010/11, which has more than halved to 41,000 in the year ending June 2013, its lowest level since 2005/06.

There were 216,895 visas issued for the purposes of study (excluding student visitors) in the year ending September 2013, a rise of 3%. This figure is almost a third (32%) lower compared with the peak in the year ending June 2010 (320,183).

The number of sponsored student visa applications remained at a similar level, 211,100, in the year ending September 2013.  However there was a 7% increase for the university sector (UK-based Higher Education Institutions) and falls of 31%, 8% and 2% respectively for the further education sector (tertiary, further education or other colleges), English language schools and independent schools in the total for the year compared to a year earlier (Figure 3.13).

1.4 Migration for other reasons

A quarter of people immigrated to the UK and a third emigrated from the UK for reasons other than work or study in the year ending June 2013. Reasons for migrating other than work or study include accompanying or joining family or friends, asylum and returning home to live.

The third most common reason for migrating to the UK is to accompany/join. In the year ending June 2013, 60,000 people migrated to the UK to accompany or join relatives; this figure is similar to the estimate of 68,000 who migrated for this reason in the year previously (Figure 3.11). Visa data show that 33,747 family route visas were issued in the year ending September 2013. This is a decrease of 20% compared with the year ending September 2012 (42,146) and is the lowest number of family route visas issued since comparable records began in 2005. Of those who emigrated from the UK, 33,000 left to accompany / join in the year ending June 2013, which represents 1 in 10 emigrants.

The number of applications for asylum, excluding dependants, was 5% higher in Q3 2013 (6,078) compared with Q3 2012 (5,812) (Figure 3.14).  This is lower than its peak of 22,760 in the fourth quarter of 2002 and is no longer contributing as greatly to long-term migration flows.

International Passenger Survey data show that 18,000 immigrants and 28,000 emigrants stated their main reason for migrating was ‘going home to live’ in the year ending June 2013. The majority (16,000) of 18,000 immigrants who stated this reason were British. Of the 28,000 emigrants returning home, 18,000 were EU citizens (of whom 11,000 were EU8 citizens) and 7,000 were citizens of non-EU countries. The remaining 3,000 emigrants were British citizens. The peak of people emigrating to return home was in 2008 when 62,000 emigrated for this reason, which is possibly connected to the start of the recession.

2. Who is migrating to and from the UK?

This section contains latest available data on migration to and from the UK by different types of migrants. It includes final 2012 Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates, the latest available provisional LTIM estimates by citizenship for the year ending June 2013 and Home Office administrative data on the number of entry clearance visas issued for the year ending September 2013. This section explores the different patterns in migration flows by different types of migrants that together influence the total patterns in migration flows. It focuses on:

  • British citizens

  • EU and non-EU citizens

  • EU8 citizens (that are a subset of EU migration flows)

  • Flows by marital status

  • Flows by age and sex

2.1 British citizens

Provisional long-term international migration estimates by citizenship show that in the year ending June 2013 the estimated number of British citizens immigrating to the UK was 77,000. This figure is the same as the estimated number of British immigrants to the UK in the previous year. IPS data show that there was a slight increase in the number of British citizens immigrating for work-related reasons and for formal study, and a slight fall in the number immigrating to accompany/join and for ‘going home to live’, although none of these changes were statistically significant.  An estimated 37,000 British citizens immigrated for work-related reasons in the year ending June 2013.

The estimated number of British citizens emigrating long-term from the UK in the year ending June 2013 was 141,000, which although lower is statistically at a similar level to the 153,000 in the year ending June 2012 (Figure 2.11). Emigration of British citizens is now 32% lower than at its most recent peak of 207,000 in the year ending December 2006, and has remained at around the same level since 2010.

Figure 2.11: Long-term international migration estimates of British citizens, UK, 2002–2013 (year ending June 2013)

Figure 2.11: Long-term international migration estimates of British citizens, UK, 2002–2013 (year ending June 2013)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for YE Mar 13 and YE June 13 are provisional
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals

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2.2 EU citizens

There has been a statistically significant increase in net migration of EU (excluding British) citizens to and from the UK from 72,000 in the year ending June 2012 to 106,000 in the year ending June 2013.  An estimated 183,000 citizens from the EU (excluding British) migrated to the UK in the year ending June 2013, an increase from the 158,000 who immigrated in the previous year. This inflow is similar to the figure for the year ending September 2010.  There was however a statistically significant increase in the number of EU15 citizens arriving for work-related reasons from 41,000 in the year ending June 2012 to 59,000 in the year ending June 2013. The estimated number of EU citizens (excluding British) emigrating from the UK was 78,000 in the year ending June 2013, which is slightly lower than the 86,000 EU citizens who emigrated in the previous year (Figure 2.21).

Figure 2.21 Long-term international migration estimates of EU citizens (excluding British) UK, 2002–2013 (year ending June 2013)

Figure 2.21 Long-term international migration estimates of EU citizens (excluding British) UK, 2002–2013 (year ending June 2013)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for YE Mar 13 and YE June 13 are provisional
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals

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In May 2004, eight central and eastern European countries joined the EU giving their citizens the right to work in the UK. In the latest year, net migration of EU8 citizens has remained fairly steady, standing at 36,000 in the year ending June 2013 which is similar to the figure of 31,000 for the year ending June 2012.  Immigration and emigration figures have also remained stable for EU8 citizens. An estimated 66,000 EU8 citizens immigrated to the UK in the year ending June 2013 compared to 63,000 in the previous year. The figure for emigration of EU8 citizens in the year ending June 2013 was 30,000, which is similar to the 32,000 people who emigrated in the previous year (Figure 2.22).

It should be noted that from May 2011 transitional controls that applied to EU8 citizens seeking work in other EU countries expired (these were never applied in the Irish Republic, Sweden and the UK). This may have had the effect of diverting some EU8 migration flows to other EU countries, such as Germany, which in 2012 experienced its highest net migration since 1995.

Figure 2.22: Long-term international migration estimates of EU8 citizens, UK, 2004–2013 (year ending June 2013)

Figure 2.22: Long-term international migration estimates of EU8 citizens, UK, 2004–2013 (year ending June 2013)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for YE Mar 13 and YE June 13 are provisional
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals

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2.3 Non-EU citizens

The estimated number of non-EU citizens immigrating long-term to the UK in the year ending June 2013 was 242,000, a statistically significant decrease compared to the estimate of 282,000 in the year ending June 2012. The estimated number of non-EU citizens emigrating from the UK in the year ending June 2013 was 102,000, which was slightly lower than the estimate of 110,000 in the year ending June 2012. This results in a statistically significant decrease in net migration of non-EU citizens from an estimated 172,000 in the year ending June 2012 to 140,000 in the year ending June 2013 (Figure 2.3).

Figure 2.3: Long-term international migration estimates of non-EU Citizens, UK, 2002–2013 (year ending June 2013)

Figure 2.3: Long-term international migration estimates of non-EU Citizens, UK, 2002–2013 (year ending June 2013)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for YE Mar 13 and YE June 13 are provisional
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals

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The decrease in immigration of non-EU citizens has been largely due to a statistically significant decrease in people arriving from the New Commonwealth for study. An estimated 41,000 New Commonwealth citizens arrived for study in the year ending June 2013, which is lower that the estimate of 63,000 who arrived in the year ending June 2012. Inflows of New Commonwealth citizens for study are now at their lowest level since the year ending December 2005. These changes are likely to be related to changes seen in the visa data, indicating the sharp decline in sponsored study migration in the Further Education sector. Immigration of other foreign citizens (the main other non-EU citizenship group, which includes China) for study remained at a similar level in the year ending June 2013 (86,000) compared to the year ending June 2012 (80,000). 

Analysis of the top countries of last and next residence of migrants to and from the UK is given in Section 4.2.

2.4 Entry clearance visas issued - by world area

Administrative data on entry clearance visas provide information on the nationality of those who are coming to the UK, though they relate to those subject to immigration control, so normally exclude EU nationals and some others.

Figure 2.4: Entry clearance visas issued (excluding visitor and transit visas), by world area, UK, 2005–2013

Figure 2.4: Entry clearance visas issued (excluding visitor and transit visas), by world area, UK, 2005–2013
Source: Home Office

Notes:

  1. A small number (one to two thousand per year excluding visitor and transit visas) of Home Office visas cannot be ascribed to a world area and are categorised as ‘Other’. This category does not appear in the above chart.
  2. European Economic Area (EEA) nationals do not require a visa to enter the UK. However some EEA nationals do apply and are issued with visas.
  3. See the Glossary for discussion of world regions and differences between Home Office and DWP definitions.

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Source: Home Office Immigration Statistics July to September 2013

Figure 2.4 shows trends in visas issued (excluding visitor and transit visas) by world area since 2005. From the year ending September 2009 onwards those with an Asian nationality have accounted for the majority of visas and have driven the recent fluctuations in visa numbers. Asian nationals accounted for 275,078 (52%) of the 526,736 visas issued in the year ending September 2013, with India and China each accounting for 15% of the total.

The number of visas issued in the year ending September 2013, excluding visitor and transit visas, was 18,536 higher than in the year ending September 2012 (508,200). This included increases for China (up 5,073 or +7%), Russia (up 2,916 or +15%) and Libya (up 2,717 or +96%, this rise is consistent with a return to previous levels that applied before the fall of the former Libyan regime).

Although the above figures exclude visitor and transit visas, they will include some individuals who do not plan to move to the UK for a year or more as well as dependants. Nevertheless, recent trends in visas issued have provided a good leading indicator for trends in non-EU immigration. Data on visas issued also provide information on reasons why people are migrating, as detailed in Section 3.

2.5 Migration by age, sex, and marital status

Final LTIM figures for 2012 estimate that 209,000 15 to 24 year olds and 218,000 25 to 44 year olds immigrated to the UK. Inflows for both of these age groups have fallen compared to 2011, however together they account for 86% of total inflow, the same proportion as in 2011. Emigration in the 25 to 44 age group is much higher than in the 15 to 24 age group (173,000 compared to 93,000). This gives a net inflow in 2012 of 116,000 for 15 to 24 year olds and 44,000 for 25 to 44 year olds.

In 2012, 253,000 males migrated to the UK, which is slightly higher than the 245,000 female immigrants. Inflows of males and females were much more similar in 2012 than in previous years. For example in 2011, 308,000 males immigrated to the UK compared to 258,000 females. In 2012, more males also emigrated from the UK than females (176,000 compared to 145,000) (Figure 2.5). This resulted in a much lower net inflow of males of 77,000 in 2012 compared to 110,000 in 2011. The net inflow of females in 2012 was 100,000 which was higher than the net flow of males in 2012, and was close to the net inflow of females in 2011 (105,000).

Figure 2.5: Long-term international migration estimates by broad age group and sex, UK, 2012

Figure 2.5:  Long-term international migration estimates by broad age group and sex, UK, 2012
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

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LTIM figures show that the majority of immigrants are single (324,000 in 2012, or 68% of total inflow). Similarly, 60% of emigrants in 2012 (185,000 people) were single. The resulting net flows into the UK were 139,000 single people and 26,000 married people. 

3. Why are people migrating to and from the UK?

3.1 People arriving in the UK

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 MSQR User Information (442.4 Kb Pdf) .

Provisional LTIM estimates for the year ending June 2013 show that work-related reasons are the most common reason given for migrating to the UK. Between 2009 and 2012 formal study had been the most common main reason for immigration to the UK. An estimated 202,000 long-term migrants arrived to the UK for work-related reasons in the year ending June 2013. This is a statistically significant increase when compared to the estimate of 173,000 in the year ending June 2012. An estimated 176,000 long-term migrants arrived to the UK to study. Although not a statistically significant change, this estimate is lower than the 197,000 who arrived to study in the year ending June 2012 (Figure 3.11).

The third most common reason for migrating to the UK is to accompany/join. In the year ending June 2013, 60,000 people migrated to the UK to accompany or join relatives; this figure is similar to the estimate of 68,000 who migrated for this reason in the year previously. (Figure 3.11)

The quarterly Labour Market Statistical release provides estimates of numbers employed and employment rates by broad country of birth and nationality groupings (though these estimates of numbers employed should not be used as a proxy for flows of migrants into the UK). The latest statistics show that from July to September 2013 the number of non-UK nationals in employment increased by 26,000 to 2.64 million in this period from the same quarter in the previous year (2.62 million). For comparison the number of UK nationals in employment also increased by 348,000 to 27.42 million.

Figure 3.11: Long-term international migration estimates of immigration to the UK, by main reason for migration, 2004–2013 (year ending June 2013)

Figure 3.11: Long-term international migration estimates of immigration to the UK, by main reason for migration, 2004–2013 (year ending June 2013)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for YE Mar 13 and YE Jun 13 are provisional
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available annually
  3. Acc/Join means accompanying or joining

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Entry clearance visas issued by reason

Excluding visitor and transit visas, most 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. The data also include those issued for family reasons, and dependants.

In the year ending September 2013, there were increases in the numbers of visas issued for the purposes of work (+5% to 152,139) and study (excluding student visitors, +3% to 216,895). These figures are still lower compared with the peak figures for work in the year ending December 2006 (-39%, 249,634) and study (excluding student visitors) in the year ending June 2010 (-32%, 320,183). The number of visas issued for family reasons decreased in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous twelve months (-20%, to 33,747).

Previous falls in the number of visas issued for work, study and family reasons are consistent with changes to the rules governing visas related to these routes of entry which began to come into effect from the end of 2010. They are also broadly consistent with recent downward trends in the LTIM measure of non-EU immigration, though extend three months beyond the period covered by the latest provisional LTIM estimates.

Figure 3.12: UK entry clearance visas issued, including dependants, by reason (excluding visitor and transit visas), 2005–2013

Figure 3.12: UK entry clearance visas issued, including dependants, by reason (excluding visitor and transit visas), 2005–2013
Source: Home Office

Notes:

  1. Excludes student visitors who are allowed to come to the UK for 6 months (or 11 months if they will be studying an English Language course) and cannot extend their stay.
  2. The Student visitor category provides for persons who wish to come to the UK as a visitor and undertake a short period of study that will be completed within the period of their leave. It includes those who applied on the 'Short-term student' endorsement prior to the introduction of the ‘Student visitor’ endorsement in September 2007.

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Source: Home Office Immigration Statistics July to September 2013

In the year ending December 2005, a total of 191,584 visas were issued for the purposes of study (excluding student visitors). This figure increased gradually at first, but then increased sharply, peaking at 320,183 in the year ending June 2010, a rise of 41% on a year earlier. Following this peak there has been a fall in the number of visas issued for the purposes of study (excluding student visitors) to 204,469 in the year ending June 2013. The figure has now risen to 216,895 for the year ending September 2013, a 3% increase compared with the year ending September 2012 (210,843, see Figure 3.12).

The main nationalities to show an increase in the number of visas issued for study purposes (excluding student visitors) in the year ending September 2013 were Chinese (4,685, +8%) and Malaysian (2,120, +27%). Despite the overall increase, there were also decreases for other nationalities such as Pakistani, from 13,501 to 5,336 (-60%) and Indian, from 18,154 to 13,811 (-24%).

As well as the 3% (6,052) increase in study visas issued compared to the previous year, there was a 15% increase (+10,125) in student visitor visas issued to 76,672 in the year ending September 2013. Student visit visas are for short-term study and cannot be extended. Excluding such short-term migrants from the study-related visas granted data provide a better comparison with LTIM long-term immigration data. The nationalities accounting for the increase in student visitor visas were different from those accounting for the fall in study visas.

In the year ending September 2013, there were 211,100 sponsored student visa applications (main applicants), similar to the previous year. However there was a 7% increase for the university sector (UK-based Higher Education Institutions, to 167,262) and falls of 31%, 8% and 2% respectively for the further education sector (tertiary, further education or other colleges to 23,145), English language schools (to 3,446) and independent schools (to 13,763).

As a consequence, the share of visa applications for the university sector rose from 74% to 79% over the same period, whilst the shares for the Further Education sector fell from 16% to 11%.

Figure 3.13: Study-related sponsored visa applications by sector, 2010-2013

Figure 3.13: Study-related sponsored visa applications by sector, 2010-2013
Source: Home Office

Notes:

  1. The numbers show the use of a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS) in a study visa application.
  2. Universities are 'recognised bodies' (meaning that it has its own UK degree-awarding powers), or bodies in receipt of public funding as a Higher Education Institute (HEI). Institutions (including Further Education colleges) which receive some public funding to deliver higher education courses do not fall within this definition of an HEI. They are UK-based. Further Education contains the remainder of sponsors who described themselves as ‘University and tertiary’, plus those who described themselves as ‘Private Institution of Further or Higher Education’ or whose self-description included ‘Further Education’ or ‘Higher Education’. Includes a small number of foreign based universities but these account for very small numbers of CAS used.
  3. The chart excludes sponsored visa applications from a small number of other sponsors.

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Source: Home Office Immigration Statistics July to September 2013

The highest 12-monthly total for work-related visas issued was 249,634 in the calendar year 2006 (note that the data series starts at the year ending December 2005). This figure then declined gradually to 152,993 in the year ending March 2010. After that the number rose slightly to 161,809 in the year ending March 2011, then fell to 141,772 for the year ending March 2013. It has increased to 152,139 in the year ending September 2013, 5% more than the previous year (145,558). In 2012 the highest numbers of work-related visas were issued to Indian (34%), Australian (10%) and United States (9%) nationals.

More detailed information on work-related visas issued by ‘Tier’ can be found in the latest Home Office briefings on immigration for work. The latest Home Office briefings on immigration for work, study, family and of EEA nationals now available.

In addition to the visas information, the Home Office has released provisional quarterly figures up to September 2013 on asylum applications. 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 5% higher in quarter 3 of 2013 (6,078) compared with quarter 3 of 2012 (5,812) (Figure 3.14). The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132), and similar to levels seen since 2006. In the year ending September 2013, the largest number of applications for asylum were from nationals of Pakistan (3,460), followed by Iran (2,632) and Sri Lanka (1,836).

The 2,875 increase in total applications for the year ending September 2013 was driven by rises from a number of nationalities, in particular from Syria (+759), Albania (+493), Eritrea (+349), Pakistan (+339), and Bangladesh (+214). While Syria saw the largest increase in applications it remains fourth for overall numbers of asylum applications.

Figure 3.14: Applications for asylum in the UK, excluding dependants, 2004-2013

Figure 3.14: Applications for asylum in the UK, excluding dependants, 2004-2013
Source: Home Office

Notes:

  1. Figures from 2012 onwards are provisional and subject to change

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Source Home Office

National Insurance number allocation statistics – all citizens

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. They are not however equivalent to the long-term migration statistics, as they will include a large number of people who are coming for short-term employment, only record people on first registration, and have differences in timing and coverage.

The total number of NINo registrations to adult overseas nationals in the year ending September 2013 was 598,000, an increase of 61,000 (11%) on the year ending September 2012.

The number of NINo registrations to adult overseas nationals entering the UK from within the EU in the 12 months to September 2013 was 422,000, an increase of 78,000 (23%) on the previous year.

The proportion of NINos allocated to European Union Accession nationals (that is those of all 13 Accession countries including Croatia in the year ending September 2013 is 38% (225,000). Recently the number has increased from 193,000 in the year ending September 2012, an increase of 32,000 (17%). Accession nationals accounted for 46% of all allocations to adult overseas nationals when the figures peaked in the year ending December 2007 at 368,000.

The number of NINo registrations to adult overseas nationals entering the UK from outside the EU in the 12 months to September 2013 was 176,000, a fall of 18,000 (9%) on the previous year (Figure 3.15).

Figure 3.15: National Insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals by world area of origin, UK, 2006–2013

Figure 3.15:  National Insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals by world area of origin, UK, 2006–2013
Source: Work and Pensions

Notes:

  1. EU Accession countries here refers to the EU8, the EU2, Cyprus, Malta and Croatia (see Glossary). This definition applies to the full time series.

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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.

3.2 People emigrating from the UK

This section contains the latest available figures on emigration from the UK by reason.

In the latest available provisional LTIM estimates for the year ending June 2013, work-related reasons continue to be the main reason given for emigration and account for 59% of emigrants. An estimated 188,000 people emigrated from the UK for work-related reasons in the year ending June 2013. This is similar to the year ending June 2012 when 199,000 people emigrated for work-related reasons (Figure 3.2).

In the year ending June 2013, of those 188,000 emigrants leaving for work-related reasons, 116,000 (62%) left for a definite job, similar to 124,000 (also 62%) in the year ending June 2012. The remaining 72,000 (38%) left to look for work. The proportions of definite job/look for work have remained fairly constant over time.

The numbers of British citizens emigrating was estimated at 141,000 for the year ending June 2013. IPS data show that migration 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 (57%) of all British emigrants.

Figure 3.2: Long-term international migration estimates of emigration from the UK, by main reason, 2004–2013 (year ending June 2013)

Figure 3.2: Long-term international migration estimates of emigration from the UK, by main reason, 2004–2013 (year ending June 2013)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for YE Mar 13 and YE Jun 13 are provisional
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available annually
  3. It should be noted that reasons for emigration will not necessarily match reasons for intended immigration. For example, someone arriving for study may then leave the UK after their course for work-related reasons
  4. Acc/Join means accompanying or joining

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Final LTIM estimates show that in 2012 the most commonly stated reason for emigrating from the UK was a definite job. In 2012, 115,000 emigrants left the UK with a definite job to go to and 67,000 emigrated to look for work. In 2011, 123,000 left with a definite job and 78,000 left to look for work. The peak of emigration was in 2008 when 219,000 emigrated for work-related reasons, 136,000 with a definite job.

In 2012, an estimated 73% of those emigrating with a definite job were going to non-EU countries. Included in this figure will be those who originally arrived in the UK to study and subsequently have left for work. Please see Section 3.3 for more detailed figures on emigration by original reason for immigration.

Emigration to accompany/join was estimated at 36,000 for 2012, which is similar to the estimate for 2011, when an estimated 33,000 left for this reason. This compares to a peak of 59,000 for the last decade, in 2003. This reason for migration is less common now than in the nineties, when the average annual emigration to accompany/join was 65,000.

Home Office Research Report 68, published in November 2012, presents information from academic research and surveys drawn together to present key aspects of long-term emigration from the United Kingdom. This includes recent outward migration and some trends over the last twenty years, separately for British, European Union (EU) and non-EU citizens.

The report considers where emigrants go, how long for, and their motivations. The evidence suggests emigration is mainly for work, and that key destinations for British citizens are Australia, Spain, the United States, and France.  Reasons and drivers for emigration from the UK appear to vary across citizenship groups. While many factors influence emigration, British and EU citizen emigration appears to be associated with changes in unemployment and exchange rates. This is less apparent for non-EU citizens.

3.3 People emigrating from the UK by previous main reason for immigration

In 2012 new questions were added to the IPS asking current emigrants who had previously immigrated to the UK, about their main reason for migration at the time that they immigrated. This edition of the MSQR sees the publication of provisional results from the new question for the year ending June 2013.  A short story entitled ‘Why did emigrants previously arrive to live in the UK?’ has been published alongside this edition of the MSQR to provide further analysis of what the new data show and information on interpreting the new IPS question on previous main reason for immigration.

In the year ending June 2013, IPS data (which exclude the adjustments made to derive LTIM estimates and therefore will not match LTIM estimates, see Glossary) show that 299,000 individuals emigrated from the UK. These comprised 98,000 ‘new’ long-term emigrants (individuals who had not previously lived away from the UK for 12 months or more), and 200,000 long-term emigrants who had formerly immigrated to the UK.

Figure 3.3: Outflow of migrants, who are former immigrants to the UK, by citizenship and previous main reason for immigration, year ending June 2013.

Figure 3.3: Outflow of migrants, who are former immigrants to the UK, by citizenship and previous main reason for immigration, year ending June 2013.
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures are provisional.
  2. Work-related reasons is the sum of definite job and looking for work.
  3. In Table 4 of the Provisional Estimates of Long-Term International Migration figures for UK-born former immigrants are shown separately. In Figure 3.3 UK-born former immigrants are included within the ‘Other’ category.

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Formal study and work-related reasons were the two most common previous main reasons for immigrating to the UK, reported by those former immigrants who emigrated in the year ending June 2013, at 70,000 (35%) and 65,000 (33%) respectively.

An estimated 18,000 (9%) had previously immigrated to the UK to accompany or join another person, whilst 48,000 (24%) had previously immigrated for other reasons or did not state their previous reason for immigration (this includes all UK-born former immigrants).

Of those who had previously immigrated to the UK for work-related reasons, 37,000 (57%) were EU citizens, 16,000 (25%) were citizens of the Old or New Commonwealth, and 9,000 (14%) were citizens of other foreign countries.

Of the 70,000 emigrants who had previously immigrated to the UK for formal study, nearly a quarter (16,000) were EU citizens and nearly a third (22,000) were citizens of the Old or New Commonwealth. Two in five (29,000) were citizens of other foreign countries. 

4. Where are people migrating to or migrating from?

This section (for November’s publication only) contains information on where people are migrating to and where they have migrated from. It includes final LTIM data on migration by UK area, country of origin for immigrants and country of destination for emigrants.

4.1 Migration by UK Area

The Annual Population Survey and data from the Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agency are used with International Passenger Survey data to provide estimates of Long-Term International Migration into and out of areas within the UK. Of the constituent countries of the UK, the vast majority of immigrants arrive to live in England. In 2012, 435,000 immigrants arrived to live in England, which is 87% of the total 498,000 immigrants to the UK. The relative proportions of immigrants arriving in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are 3%, 7% and 2% respectively.

Within England, 131,000 people immigrated to London, which is the lowest estimate since 1996 when 125,000 migrants were estimated to have moved to London. In 2012 the South East (59,000) received the largest numbers of immigrants outside London. In total, London and the South East received 38% of all immigrants to the UK in 2012. This is similar to previous years.

The East region had the largest numbers of immigrants outside London and the South East, with an estimate of 50,000. Immigrants to the East accounted for 10% of the total number of immigrants to the UK in 2012.

Similarly to immigration, England also had the largest number of emigrants in 2012. 278,000 people emigrated from England to countries outside the UK, which is 87% of all emigrants from the UK. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland had 3%, 7% and 4% of emigrants from the UK respectively.

In 2012 England had a net international migration of 158,000. This is a statistically significant decrease when compared to a net migration of 204,000 in 2011. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland had net migrations of 8,000, 14,000 and -2,000. These compare to -2,000, 15,000 and -3,000 respectively for 2011. The net migration of Wales has seen a statistically significant increase. The changes for Scotland and Northern Ireland are not statistically significant.

4.2 Where did migrants to the UK previously live?

International Passenger Survey estimates show that immigrants came to the UK from many different countries. The top five countries of origin for 2012 are China (40,000 or 8.7% of all immigrants), India (37,000 or 8.0% of all immigrants), Poland (29,000 or 6.3% of all immigrants), USA (29,000 or 6.3% of all immigrants) and Australia (27,000 or 5.8% of all immigrants).

China is now the top country of last residence for immigrants to the UK for the first time. India moved down into second place following a statistically significant decrease in the numbers of immigrants from India to the UK, from 61,000 in 2011 to 37,000 in 2012. The USA has replaced Pakistan in the top 5 countries of last residence when compared to 2011, reflecting a statistically significant fall in inflows from Pakistan from 43,000 in 2011 to 19,000 in 2012.  Spain moved up into sixth place, with a statistically significant increase in inflows from 17,000 in 2011 to 27,000 in 2012 (Figure 4.2).

Figure 4.2 Immigration from most common countries of last residence for 2008-2012

Figure 4.2 Immigration from most common countries of last residence for 2008-2012
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

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4.3 Where do emigrants from the UK intend to live?

Australia remains the most popular country of destination for emigrants from the UK. In 2012, International Passenger Survey estimates show that 48,000 emigrants from the UK intended to live in Australia. This accounts for 16.1% of all emigrants. The remaining top countries of next residence are USA (19,000 or 6.4% of all emigrants), India (17,000 or 5.7% of all emigrants), China (16,000 or 5.4% of all emigrants), and France (15,000 or 5.0% of all emigrants). There was a statistically significant decrease in the number of migrants leaving the UK to go to India, from 23,000 in 2011 to 17,000 in 2012. China has replaced Poland in the top 5 countries of next residence when compared to 2011. Poland was the second most common destination in 2008 at 50,000, but is no longer in the top 5 countries of next residence. In fact, there was a statistically significant decrease in the number of people who emigrated to Poland from 20,000 in 2011 to 11,000 in 2012 (Figure 4.3).

Figure 4.3 Emigration to most common destinations of next residence for 2008-2012

Figure 4.3 Emigration to most common destinations of next residence for 2008-2012
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

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5. List of products

The following are URL links to the products underlying this report, or otherwise associated with the co-ordinated migration release of 28 November 2013. The department releasing each product is indicated.

The user information sheet  (442.4 Kb Pdf) includes guidance on comparing the data sources, and quality information (ONS)

Quality and Methodology Information for International Migration (329.4 Kb Pdf) (ONS)

International Passenger Survey: Quality Information in Relation to Migration Flows (214.2 Kb Pdf) (ONS)

Quarterly releases on 28 November 2013:

  1. Immigration Statistics July-September 2013 (Home Office)

  2. Long-Term International Migration 2012 (ONS) 

  3. Provisional Long-Term International Migration, year ending June 2013 (ONS)

Published on 13 November 2013:

Labour Market Statistics - November 2013 (ONS). This includes estimates of the number of people in employment in the UK by country of birth and nationality.

Published on 28 November 2013:

National Insurance Number (NINo) Allocations to Adult Overseas Nationals to September 2013 (DWP)

6. Future releases

The quarterly migration release dates in 2014 are:

  • Thursday 27 February

  • Thursday 22 May

  • Thursday 28 August

  • Thursday 27 November.

The final long-term international migration figures for the calendar year 2013 will be published in November 2014.

7. Glossary

Annual Population Survey

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is a continuous household survey, covering the UK, with the aim of providing estimates between censuses of key social and labour market variables at a local area level. The APS is not a stand-alone survey, but uses data combined from two waves from the main Labour Force Survey (LFS) with data collected on a local sample boost. Apart from employment and unemployment, the topics covered in the survey include housing, ethnicity, religion, health and education.

Citizenship

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 nationality may hold.

More generally a British citizen as described in IPS statistics includes those with UK nationality usually through a connection with the UK: birth, adoption, descent, registration, or naturalisation. British nationals have the right of abode in the UK.

Commonwealth (ONS Statistical Grouping)

The Commonwealth statistical grouping consists of countries of the Old Commonwealth and the New Commonwealth (see below).

Confidence interval

This is the range within which the true value of a population parameter lies with known probability. For example the 95% 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’.

European Economic Area (EEA)

The EEA consists of the 27 countries of the EU (see below), plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Swiss nationals are treated as EEA nationals for immigration purposes.

European Union (EU)

The EU consists of 28 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, 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. Croatia joined the EU in July 2013 - data with a reference period after that date will include Croatia within the EU grouping.

European Union (EU) Accession countries

The Accession countries are those that joined the EU in 2004 or later. Ten joined in 2004 (the EU8, plus Cyprus and Malta), two joined in 2007 (the EU2) and Croatia joined in 2013.

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. These restrictions are due to be lifted on 1 January 2014.

EU8

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 these restrictions were lifted from 1 May 2011.

EU15

The EU15 consists of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

International Passenger Survey (IPS)

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. Between 700,000 and 800,000 people are interviewed on the IPS each year. Of those interviewed, approximately 4,000-5,000 people each year are identified as long-term international migrants.

Long-Term International Migration (LTIM)

Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates are produced by combining migration data from the IPS, Home Office data on asylum seekers, migration to and from Northern Ireland (from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) and adjustments for visitor switchers and migrant switchers.

Nationality

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, 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.

New Commonwealth (ONS Statistical Grouping)

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.

Rwanda was admitted to the Commonwealth in November 2009, but the definition for this statistical grouping has remained unchanged. Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in December 2003, but again the definition for this grouping also remained unchanged following this.

Old Commonwealth (ONS Statistical Grouping)

The Old Commonwealth statistical grouping consists of four countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

Points Based System (PBS)

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 high value individuals such as investors and entrepreneurs. Tier 2 is for skilled workers with a job offer. Tier 3 is low skilled workers – this entry route was never opened and is currently suspended. Tier 4 is for students and Tier 5 is for youth mobility and temporary workers.

Statistical Significance

The International Passenger Survey interviews a sample of passengers passing through ports within the UK. As with all sample surveys, the estimates produced from them are based upon one of a number of different samples that could have been drawn at that point in time. This means that there is a degree of variability around the estimates produced. This variability sometimes may present misleading changes in figures as a result of the random selection of those included in the sample. If a change or a difference between estimates is described as 'statistically significant', it means that statistical tests have been carried out to reject the possibility that the change has occurred by chance. Therefore statistically significant changes are very likely to reflect real changes in migration patterns.

Standard error

Standard error is an estimate of the margin of error associated with a sample survey.

Student visitor

The student visitor visa category provides for those people who wish to come to the UK as a visitor and undertake a short period of study which will be completed within the period of their leave (maximum six months unless applying under the concession for English language courses – 11 months). Short-term students (i.e. those studying on courses of six months’ duration or less) who do not intend to work part-time or undertake a paid or unpaid work placement as part of their course can also apply within this category.

Background notes

  1. The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report is produced in partnership with the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
  2. Terms and conditions             
                 
    A National Statistics publication   
               
                 
    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They are produced free from any political interference. The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;

    • are well explained and readily accessible

    • are produced according to sound methods, and

    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

  3. A list of those with Pre-release access to the MSQR and associated migration products is available.
  4. 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: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Sarah Crofts +44 (0)1329 444097 Migration Statistics Unit migstatsunit@ons.gsi.gov.uk
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