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Statistical bulletin: Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, August 2014 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 28 August 2014 Download PDF

Key Figures

  • Net long-term migration to the UK was estimated to be 243,000 in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 175,000 in the previous 12 months.
  • While net migration has increased since the most recent low of 154,000 in the year ending September 2012, it remains below the peak of 320,000 in the year ending June 2005.
  • 560,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 492,000 in the previous 12 months. Two-thirds of the increase is accounted for by immigration of EU citizens (up 44,000 to 214,000).
  • An estimated 316,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year ending March 2014. Long-term emigration has been relatively stable since 2010.
  • 28,000 EU2 (Romanian and Bulgarian) citizens immigrated to the UK in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 12,000 in the previous 12 months.
  • There was a statistically significant increase in immigration for work (up 38,000 to 228,000), driven by increases for EU15 and EU2 citizens. Estimated employment of EU citizens was 17% higher in April to June 2014, compared to the same quarter in 2013.
  • Immigration for study remained stable (177,000) in the year ending March 2014. Study visas granted in year ending June 2014 rose 7%, reflecting higher levels of university-sponsored applications (applications for other education sectors fell).
  • 265,000 non-EU citizens immigrated to the UK in the year ending March 2014. This ends a steady decline since the recent peak of 334,000 in 2011.
  • Work and study visas granted rose 10% (+14,799) and 7% (+13,885) respectively in the year ending June 2014, compared to the previous year, following a decline since 2011. The increase in work visas was largely accounted for by skilled work (+11,744).
  • There were 23,479 asylum applications (main applicants) in the year ending June 2014, similar to the previous 12 months (23,523), but low relative to the 2002 peak (84,132).

Overview

The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR) is a summary of the quarterly releases of official international migration statistics. This edition covers those quarterly datasets released on 28 August 2014. It also links to other migration products released on that date. The majority of figures presented are for the year ending March 2014, but where available, figures are provided for the year ending June 2014. Long-term migration estimates relate to people who move from their country of previous residence for a period of at least a year. Figures relating to visas by reason include long- and short-term migrants and their dependants; similarly National Insurance Number allocations to adult overseas nationals also include long- and short-term migrants.

A summary version of this report is available on the Migration theme page.

Introduction

This edition of the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR) includes provisional estimates of international migration for the year ending March 2014.

The MSQR series brings together statistics on migration published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Migration statistics 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. 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. Additionally, migration statistics are used to monitor the impact of immigration policy, and performance against a stated target to reduce annual net migration to the UK 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 (LTIM) (327.8 Kb Pdf) Releases. 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 (318.4 Kb Pdf) . If you are new to migration statistics, you might find it helpful to read our ‘International Migration Statistics First Time User Guide’ (199.4 Kb Pdf) .

The UK Statistics Authority confirmed in July 2014 that ONS Migration Statistics have passed their regular assessment to continue to be classified as National Statistics.

In June 2014 ONS published a response to the user consultation (170.7 Kb Pdf) on Country Grouping in International Migration Statistics. In the response, it was announced that ONS would publish three new single-variable International Passenger Survey (IPS) tables by citizenship, country of birth and country of last/next residence using new country groupings in the November MSQR release.

ONS ran a consultation on migration reporting in June/July 2014. A response to the consultation will be published in September 2014.

In the November MSQR, ONS will publish final LTIM and IPS statistics for 2013. The final LTIM estimates will include an additional adjustment for non-asylum enforced removals. For more information see the LTIM FAQs and Background Notes (413 Kb Pdf) document.

Net Migration Estimates in Light of the 2011 Census

In April 2014, ONS published a report examining the quality of international migration statistics between 2001 and 2011, using the results of the 2011 Census. Within that report, ONS published a revised set of net migration estimates for the UK. Since the 2001 and 2011 Censuses provide a population count at two points in time, the difference between these populations can be used together with births and deaths records to estimate total net migration over the ten year period. This showed that over the ten year period, previously estimated annual net migration estimates were 346,000 lower than the total net migration implied by the 2011 Census. The revised annual net migration figures were produced using additional data sources to distribute the total net migration across the decade to individual years. Table 1 shows these revised net migration estimates compared with previously published estimates.

Table 1: Net International Migration Estimates for United Kingdom

Time Series, Calendar Years 2001-2011, Mid Years 2001-2002 to 2010-2011

Thousands
  Revised net migration estimate Original net migration estimate Difference between original and revised net migration estimates
Balance
YE Dec 2001 179 171 +8
YE Jun 2002 174 148 +26
YE Dec 2002 172 153 +19
YE Jun 2003 172 148 +24
YE Dec 2003 185 148 +37
YE Jun 2004 194 174 +20
YE Dec 2004 268 245 +23
YE Jun 2005 320 260 +60
YE Dec 2005 267 206 +61
YE Jun 2006 234 177 +57
YE Dec 2006 265 198 +67
YE Jun 2007 287 208 +79
YE Dec 2007 273 233 +40
YE Jun 2008 267 196 +71
YE Dec 2008 229 163 +66
YE Jun 2009 205 166 +39
YE Dec 2009 229 198 +31
YE Jun 2010 244 235 +9
YE Dec 2010 256 252 +4
YE Jun 2011 263 247 +16
YE Dec 2011 205 215 -10

Table notes:

  1. Source: ONS Provisional Estimates of Long-Term International Migration, YE Mar 2014.

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The report (1.04 Mb Pdf) , a summary and guidance (55.9 Kb Pdf) on how to use these revised figures are available on the ONS website.

Published tables have been updated on the ONS website to include the revised estimates. 

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 March 2014.

  2. Entry clearance visas issued by the Home Office up to June 2014.

  3. National insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals up to June 2014.

  4. Labour market statistics on employment by nationality and country of birth, April to June 2014.

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 March 2014 show that:

  • 560,000 people immigrated to the UK;

  • 316,000 people emigrated from the UK;

  • Net migration (the difference between these figures) was 243,000.

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 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 granted increased to 538,817 (including short-term and long-term visas) in the year ending June 2014. This was 7% higher than the year ending June 2013 (501,608). This 37,209 increase was largely accounted for by higher numbers of work (+14,799, of which skilled work accounted for +11,744), study (+13,885), short-term student visitor (+5,636) and family visas (+2,052).

Figure 1.1: Long Term International Migration, 1970 to 2014

Figure 1.1: Long Term International Migration, 1970 to 2014
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for 2013 and 2014 are provisional. All other figures are final calendar year estimates of LTIM. Provisional rolling quarterly estimates are denoted by a cross.
  2. Net migration estimates for the period 2001 to 2011 have been revised in light of the 2011 Census. Therefore they will not be consistent with the separate immigration and emigration figures shown.

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During the 1960s and 1970s, there were more people emigrating from than arriving to live in the UK. During the 1980s and early 1990s, net migration remained at a relatively low level. Since 1994, it has been positive every year and rose sharply after 1997. During the 2000s, net migration increased, in part as a result of immigration of citizens from the countries that joined the EU in 2004. Since the mid 2000s, annual net migration has fluctuated between around 150,000 and 300,000. Latest provisional estimates show net migration was 243,000 in the year ending March 2014.

Changes to net migration, as shown in Figure 1.1, have been caused by changes in immigration and emigration. The latest figures for the year ending March 2014 show that there has been a statistically significant increase in immigration to 560,000 from 492,000 during the previous year. Emigration has remained stable at 316,000. The combined increase in immigration and stable emigration has resulted in a statistically significant increase in net migration to 243,000 from 175,000 in the previous year.

Figure 1.2 shows trends in net migration for EU, non-EU and British citizens. Recent increases in net migration have been driven mainly by increases in net migration of EU citizens. This trend has continued with a statistically significant increase in net migration, to 131,000 in the year ending March 2014, from 95,000 in the previous year.

By contrast, net migration of non-EU citizens has fallen over the last three years. Although the latest estimate of 162,000 for the year ending March 2014 is not a statistically significant change from 145,000, it suggests that the decline in net migration of non-EU citizens has ended. Within the non-EU grouping, there has been a statistically significant increase in net migration for Other Foreign citizens from 77,000 to 108,000 in the year ending March 2014, while net migration of New Commonwealth citizens remains at its lowest levels since 1998. Overall, non-EU net migration remains at a lower level relative to the peaks seen in the mid to late 2000s (Figure 1.2).

Net migration of British citizens has remained relatively stable over the last few years, and was estimated to be -50,000 in the year ending March 2014 (indicating that there were an estimated 50,000 more emigrants than immigrants).  The most recent peak in British net migration was in 2006 at -124,000.

Figure 1.2: Long Term International Net Migration by Citizenship, 1975 to 2014

Figure 1.2: Long Term International Net Migration by Citizenship, 1975 to 2014
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for 2013 and 2014 are provisional. All other figures are final calendar year estimates of LTIM. Provisional rolling quarterly estimates are denoted by a cross.
  2. This chart is not consistent with the total revised net migration estimates as shown in Figure 1.1. Please see guidance note for further information.

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Three-quarters of long-term immigration and two-thirds of long-term 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. Different changes in migration patterns are seen between EU and non-EU citizens, driven by the different rights to immigrate to the UK, the impact of government policy and wider political and economic factors.

1.2 Migration for Work

The most commonly stated reason for immigrating to the UK is 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. Long-term international migration estimates show that immigration for work peaked in the years 2005 to 2007 at around 240,000, the last year prior to the recent economic recession, but then declined reaching a low of 173,000 in the year ending June 2012. Recently immigration for work has increased again, reaching 228,000 in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 190,000 in the previous year.

Since 2007, around half of long-term immigrants arriving for work have been EU citizens and 25 to 30% have been non-EU citizens. The remainder were British citizens. Prior to EU Accession in 2004, the EU and non-EU proportions were reversed. This reflects the increase in the numbers of EU citizens migrating to the UK for work since 2004, combined with fewer non-EU citizens arriving for work over the same period. In 2004, 113,000 non-EU citizens arrived for work with an intention to remain more than 12 months. This has declined over the decade and stood at 48,000 in the year ending March 2014 (Figure 1.3).

Figure 1.3: Immigration to the UK for Work-Related Reasons by Citizenship, 2004 to Year Ending March 2014

Figure 1.3: Immigration to the UK for Work-Related Reasons by Citizenship, 2004 to Year Ending March 2014
Source: International Passenger Survey (IPS) - Office for National Statistics

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Changes in work-related immigration seen in LTIM estimates are also reflected in Labour Market statistics and Home Office visa statistics:

  • Labour market statistics from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show that the number of non-UK nationals in employment increased by 219,000 (8%) to 2.9 million in April to June 2014 compared to the same quarter in the previous year (2.7 million). Employment of EU nationals increased by 17% to 1.7 million, while employment of non-EU nationals decreased by 2% to 1.2 million. The growth in overall employment over the last year was 816,000, and of this, 74% can be accounted for by a growth in employment for UK nationals.

  • In the year ending June 2014, there were 10% more work-related visas granted to non-EEA nationals (up 14,799 to 159,302). The 14,799 increase in work-related visas was largely accounted for by higher numbers for skilled workers (Tier 2, +11,744), and for Youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5, +3,992), increases for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur (+836) and Tier 1 Investor (+484) categories, partially offset by fewer visas granted in the two categories that have now been closed to new entrants: Tier 1 Post-Study (-2,292) and Tier 1 General (-1,283).

In the year ending June 2014, the number of new National Insurance Numbers (NINos) allocated to non-UK nationals was 566,000, a decrease of 7,000 (1%) on the previous 12 months. It should be noted however that a change to the process of recording NINos during the quarter April-June 2014, means that the volume of NINo registrations recorded are lower in this quarter than would otherwise be the case (estimated to be around 15%-25% lower in the quarter April-June 2014 and 2%-5% lower for the year to June 2014). Therefore, comparisons of NINo registrations over time for the latest periods (quarterly and annually) should be viewed with caution. The process issues impact all nationalities i.e. the impact is not skewed to migrants from specific countries.

It should be noted that NINo registrations data do not feed into estimates of long-term international migration.

Furthermore, NINo statistics are not directly comparable with labour market statistics, which show the stock of people working in the UK, nor do they necessarily align well with migration flows, as those registering may have arrived to live in the UK weeks, months or years before registering.

EU Migration for Work

EU immigration for work began to increase following EU Accession, from 65,000 in 2004 to 125,000 in 2007. There was a decline in EU immigration for work during 2008, particularly amongst EU8 citizens, following which it remained steady at around 90,000 until 2012. In the last year, EU immigration for work has increased again.

IPS estimates show that 136,000 EU citizens arrived to work in the year ending March 2014 – a statistically significant increase from 103,000 in the previous year, comprised of:

  • EU15 citizens – a statistically significant increase to 69,000 from 53,000; 

  • EU8 citizens – remaining steady at 43,000;

  • EU2 citizens – a statistically significant increase to 22,000 from 7,000.

Approximately 60% of all EU immigrants arriving for work-related reasons have a definite job to go to (the remainder stating that they are looking for work). The latest figures for the year ending March 2014 show a statistically significant increase in EU citizens arriving for a definite job, to 80,000 from 57,000 in the previous year.

NINos allocated to all EU citizens show an increase of 6% from 398,000 in the year ending June 2013 to 421,000 in the year ending June 2014 (Figure 3.15). Polish citizens continued to be allocated the largest number of NINos in the year ending June 2014 at 92,000. NINo registrations to EU2 nationals increased in the year ending June 2014, with registrations to Romanian nationals increasing by 46,000 to 63,000 and for Bulgarian nationals increasing by 12,000 to 22,000. However a change to the process of recording NINos during the quarter April-June 2014, means that the volume of NINo registrations recorded are lower in this quarter than would otherwise be the case (estimated to be around 15%-25% lower in the quarter April-June 2014 and 2%-5% lower for the year to June 2014). Therefore, comparisons of NINo registrations over time for the latest periods (quarterly and annually) should be viewed with caution. The process issues impact all nationalities, i.e. the impact is not skewed to migrants from specific countries.

It should be noted that NINo registrations data do not feed into estimates of long-term international migration.

Labour market statistics show an estimated 132,000 EU2 citizens were employed in the UK in April to June 2014, an increase of 4% from the same quarter in the previous year. This compares to an increase of 6% to 718,000 for EU15 (excluding British) citizens and an increase of 29% to 855,000 for EU8 citizens. Labour market statistics are a measure of the stock of people working in the UK, rather than a measure of migration flows. Therefore, the increase in employment among EU8 citizens may be partially accounted for by those who were already resident in the UK taking up employment. Furthermore, there have been recent increases in the number of EU8 citizens arriving in the UK to accompany/join others, and these people may subsequently take up employment in the UK.

Overall the IPS and LFS estimates and NINo allocations data all provide evidence that there has been increased immigration for work amongst EU citizens. IPS and NINo data suggest that this increase has been predominantly amongst EU15 and EU2 citizens, although labour market statistics are showing increased levels of employment across all EU groupings, with the greatest increases amongst EU8 citizens.

The full picture of EU2 migration following the lifting of labour market restrictions on 1 January 2014 will become clearer over the next 9 months. However, the current evidence suggests that there has been an increase in immigration of EU2 citizens, mainly for work, but that this increase began in 2013 prior to the lifting of restrictions.

Non-EU Migration for Work

The decline in IPS estimates of non-EU citizens arriving for work from 2006 (100,000) to 2012 (44,000) was also seen in the number of work-related visas granted to non-EEA nationals (which fell from 249,634 to 145,110). Since then the IPS estimates have been steady (48,000 in year ending March 2014), whilst work-related visas fell to 144,503 in the year ending June 2013, and have since risen 10% to 159,302 in the year ending June 2014, largely due to an increase in skilled work visas, up 16% to 84,649. However, recent increases in visas granted have reflected higher numbers of short-term visas, which would not be seen in long-term international migration estimates (see the Home Office short story Entry Clearance Visas by Length).

Further information on migration for work can be found in the Home Office topic report on Work.

The number of NINos allocated to nationals of countries in Asia and the Middle East continues to fall, standing at 75,000 in the year ending June 2014. This figure is less than half the peak of 218,000 NINos allocated to nationals of these countries in the year ending December 2010.

1.3 Migration for Study

LTIM estimates show that over the last decade, there have been changes in the number of people migrating to the UK for formal study. Around 140,000 to 150,000 long-term migrants arrived in the UK annually to study during the early 2000s. This started to increase from 2008 to a two-year plateau of around 240,000 in 2010 and 2011. Since then, the overall number has steadily declined and recently levelled to 177,000 in the year ending March 2014. IPS estimates show that over 70% (124,000) of long-term immigrants to the UK for study are non-EU citizens.

Trends in student numbers over time, as recorded by study visa applications, differ by nationality and by education sector. Home Office statistics show that there were 218,295 visas granted for the purposes of study (excluding student visitors) in the year ending June 2014, a rise of 7% (+13,885). The increase includes higher numbers for Chinese (+3,979, +7%), Brazilian (+2,649, +115%), Malaysian (+1,852, +23%) and Libyan (+1,550, +64%) nationals. There were falls in study visas granted to Pakistani (-2,511, -35%) and Indian (-1,711, -12%) nationals. This figure (218,295) is almost a third (32%) lower compared with the peak in the year ending June 2010 (320,183).

Similarly, IPS estimates show that the number of New Commonwealth citizens, which includes the Indian sub-continent, coming to the UK to study in the year ending March 2014 was 33,000. This is its lowest level since 2002 and less than one-third of the peak of over 100,000 in 2010/11. Immigration for formal study from the Other Foreign citizenship group, which includes China, has been relatively stable over the last 4 years and was estimated to be 88,000 in the year ending March 2014.

Statistics on sponsored applications for visas by education sector suggests that the falls in visas granted for study have been in the non-university sector (see Figure 3.13). The number of sponsored student visa applications was virtually unchanged from the previous year and stood at 203,292 in the year ending June 2014. However, there was a 5% increase for the university sector (UK-based Higher Education Institutions) and falls of 25%, 4% and 5% respectively for the further education sector (tertiary, further education or other colleges), English language schools and independent schools in total for the year, compared to the previous year.

There was an 8% increase in student visitor visas granted, to 78,109. Student visitors are normally only allowed to stay for up to 6 months (11 months for English Language schools) and cannot extend their stay. However, the latest data on passenger arrivals, including the majority of student visitors who do not need a visa, showed a fall of 12% in student visitor arrivals (falling 36,100 to 263,000 in 2013).

For more information on immigration to the UK for study, see the Home Office topic report on Study.

1.4 Migration for Other Reasons

Reasons for migrating other than work or study include accompanying or joining family or friends, asylum and returning home to live.

LTIM estimates show that the third most common reason for migrating to the UK is to accompany/join others. In the year ending March 2014, 83,000 long-term migrants arrived in the UK to accompany or join others, a statistically significant increase from 59,000 in the previous year (Figure 3.11). IPS estimates show that there was a statistically significant increase in EU8 migrants coming to the UK to accompany/join others, to 9,000 in the year ending March 2014, from 4,000 in the previous year. There was also a statistically significant increase in immigration of Other Foreign citizens to accompany/join others, to 30,000 from 16,000 in the previous year.

Visa statistics show that 35,762 family route visas were issued in the year ending June 2014, an increase of 6% compared with the year ending June 2013 (33,710); but now stands at half the level of the peak in the year ending March 2007 (72,894). The increase in IPS estimates of Other Foreign citizens arriving in the UK to accompany/join others noted above is more pronounced than the increase in family route visas granted. There are a number of possible explanations for this, notably that the visa figures also include people staying in the UK for less than 12 months. Furthermore, IPS estimates for groups with very specific characteristics (e.g. Other Foreign citizens arriving to accompany/join others) are based on a relatively small sample and therefore will have comparatively large confidence intervals associated with them (for more information see the MSQR Information for Users (318.4 Kb Pdf) .

Further information on visas granted for family reasons has been published by the Home Office.

The number of applications for asylum, excluding dependants, in the year ending June 2014 (23,479) was slightly lower than the year ending June 2013 (23,523). The largest number of asylum applications in the year ending June 2014 came from Pakistan (3,081), Eritrea (2,115), Iran (2,041), and Syria (1,716). Applications for asylum peaked in the year ending December 2002 (84,132), but now typically account for only 5% of long-term inflows (Figure 3.14).

Further information on asylum has been published by the Home Office.

IPS estimates show that 19,000 immigrants and 29,000 emigrants stated their main reason for migrating was ‘going home to live’ in the year ending March 2014. The vast majority (18,000) of the 19,000 immigrants who stated ‘Going home to live’ as their reason for immigrating were British. Of the 30,000 emigrants who stated their main reason for migration as ‘returning home to live’, 20,000 were EU citizens and 8,000 were citizens of non-EU countries. The peak of people leaving the UK to return home was in 2008 when 62,000 emigrated for this reason. This peak 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 the latest available provisional LTIM estimates by citizenship for the year ending March 2014 and Home Office administrative data on the number of entry clearance visas granted for the year ending June 2014. 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.

2.1 British Citizens

Provisional long-term international migration estimates by citizenship show that in the year ending March 2014, the estimated number of British citizens immigrating to the UK was 81,000 (Figure 2.11). This figure is similar to the 76,000 British citizens estimated to have immigrated to the UK in the previous year. IPS estimates show that the majority of British citizens are immigrating for work-related reasons (38,000). The next most common reason is ‘going home to live’ (18,000), followed by formal study (10,000) and accompanying/joining others (10,000). Generally, immigration of British citizens remains relatively stable over time, both in terms of the overall level and the main reasons for immigrating.

British citizens are the largest single nationality of emigrants from the UK (41% 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 stood at 131,000 in the year ending March 2014. Just over half (57%) of British citizens emigrating did so for work-related reasons in the year ending March 2014.

Figure 2.11: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of British Citizens, UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)

Figure 2.11: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of British Citizens, UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for 2013 and 2014 are provisional.
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals.

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2.2 EU Citizens

Immigration of EU citizens (excluding British) was estimated to be 214,000 in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 170,000 in the previous year. IPS estimates show that 54%, 30% and 14% of total EU immigration in the year ending March 2014 was accounted for by citizens of the EU15, EU8 and EU2 respectively (Figure 2.21).

The estimated number of EU citizens (excluding British) emigrating from the UK was 83,000 in the year ending March 2014, which is similar to the estimated 75,000 EU citizens who emigrated in the previous year (Figure 2.21).

Net migration of EU citizens was 131,000 in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase compared to 95,000 in the previous year.

Figure 2.21: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of EU Citizens (Excluding British) UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)

Figure 2.21: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of EU Citizens (Excluding British) UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for 2013 and 2014 are provisional.
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals.

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The recent increase in EU immigration has been partly driven by a statistically significant increase in the number of EU15 citizens (excluding British) arriving in the UK to 112,000 in the year ending March 2014, from 92,000 in the year ending March 2013. IPS estimates show that the most common reason for immigration amongst EU15 citizens is work, with 69,000 arriving for this reason in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 53,000 in the previous year (Figure 2.22).

Emigration of EU15 citizens has been very stable over the last 10 years, and stood at 50,000 in the year ending March 2014. Overall there was an increase, although not a statistically significant change, in net migration of EU15 citizens to 63,000 in the year ending March 2014 from 50,000 in the previous year.  

Figure 2.22: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of EU15 Citizens (Excluding British) UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)

Figure 2.22: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of EU15 Citizens (Excluding British) UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for 2013 and 2014 are provisional.
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals.

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Over the last two years immigration of EU8 citizens has been relatively stable. An estimated 69,000 EU8 citizens immigrated to the UK in the year ending March 2014, compared to 63,000 in the previous year. Over the same period, 28,000 EU8 citizens emigrated, which is similar to the 29,000 people who emigrated in the previous year (Figure 2.23). Overall net migration for EU8 citizens was 41,000, not a statistically significant increase compared to the 34,000 in the previous year.

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 level of net migration since 1995, followed by a further increase in 2013 to levels not seen since 1993.

Figure 2.23: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of EU8 Citizens, UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)

Figure 2.23: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of EU8 Citizens, UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for 2013 and 2014 are provisional.
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals.

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Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2007. Since then, migrants from Bulgaria and Romania (collectively known as the EU2) coming to the UK were subject to transitional employment restrictions, which placed limits on the kind of employment they could undertake. These restrictions ended on 1 January 2014.

The latest IPS estimates for the year ending March 2014 shows that an estimated 28,000 Bulgarian and Romanian (EU2) citizens arrived in the UK. This was a statistically significant increase from 12,000 in the previous year. Almost 80% of EU2 citizens arrived for work-related reasons (22,000). An estimated 3,000 EU2 citizens left the UK in the year ending March 2014, which was the same as the previous year.

2.3 Non-EU Citizens

Immigration of non-EU citizens has been declining since the year ending September 2011, when an estimated 334,000 non-EU citizens immigrated to the UK. The latest estimates for the year ending March 2014 suggest that this decline has ended, with 265,000 non-EU citizens immigrating to the UK, a slight increase but not a statistically significant change, from 246,000 in the previous year.

The estimated number of non-EU citizens emigrating from the UK in the year ending March 2014 was 103,000, a very similar estimate to the previous year (101,000).

This has resulted in a slight increase in net migration of non-EU citizens from an estimated 145,000 in the year ending March 2013 to 162,000 in the year ending March 2014, although this was not a statistically significant change (Figure 2.3).

Figure 2.3: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of Non-EU Citizens, UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)

Figure 2.3: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of Non-EU Citizens, UK, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for 2013 and 2014 are provisional.
  2. Up to YE Dec 09, data are only available at six month intervals.

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In the year ending March 2014, there was a statistically significant increase in immigration of Other Foreign citizens, to 160,000 from 128,000 in the previous year. IPS estimates show that the majority of these Other Foreign citizens (which includes Chinese citizens) arrive for formal study (88,000) and the numbers arriving for study have been stable for some time. The increase in immigration among this citizenship group appears to be partly accounted for by a rise in Other Foreign citizens accompanying/joining others (30,000 compared to 16,000 in the previous year).

The longer-term decline in immigration of non-EU citizens has been largely due to lower immigration of New Commonwealth citizens, in particular for study. An estimated 33,000 New Commonwealth citizens arrived for study in the year ending March 2014, which is a statistically significant decrease from the estimate of 46,000, who arrived in the previous year. Inflows of New Commonwealth citizens for study are at their lowest level since 2002 and less than one-third of the peak of 108,000 in the year ending June 2011. These changes are likely to be related to changes seen in the visa statistics, reflecting the sharp decline in sponsored study applications in the Further Education sector (see Section 3.1). 

2.4 Entry Clearance Visas Granted - 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 Granted (Excluding Visitor and Transit Visas), by World Area, UK, 2005–2014

Figure 2.4: Entry Clearance Visas Granted (Excluding Visitor and Transit Visas), by World Area, UK, 2005–2014
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 for, 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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Figure 2.4 shows trends in visas granted (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 280,360 (52%) of the 538,817 visas granted in the year ending June 2014, with India and China each accounting for 15% of the total.

The number of visas granted in the year ending June 2014, excluding visitor and transit visas, was 37,209 higher than in the year ending June 2013 (501,608). This included increases for China (up 7,177 or +10%), India (up 6,222 or +8%) and Libya (up 4,491 or +86%).

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. There is evidence that recent increases in visas granted have reflected higher numbers of short-term visas. The Home Office short story Entry Clearance Visas by Length, indicated that the increase from 2012 to 2013 in total visas granted, excluding visit and transit visas, was accounted for by higher numbers of short-term (less than 1 year) visas. Nevertheless, recent trends in visas granted have provided a good leading indicator for trends in long-term non-EU immigration. Data on visas granted also provide information on reasons why people are migrating, as detailed in Section 3.

For more information see the Home Office Immigration Statistics April to June 2014 bulletin.

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 (318.4 Kb Pdf) .

Provisional LTIM estimates for the year ending March 2014 show that work is the most common reason given for migrating to the UK. An estimated 228,000 people immigrated for this reason in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 190,000 in the previous year. This increase has been driven by statistically significant increases in immigration of EU15 and EU2 citizens for work.

An estimated 177,000 long-term migrants arrived to the UK to study in the year ending March 2014, virtually unchanged from the estimate for the previous year (176,000) (Figure 3.11). Formal study is the second most common reason for migrating to the UK, although it was the most common reason between 2009 and 2012.

The third most common reason for migrating to the UK is to accompany/join others. In the year ending March 2014, 83,000 people migrated to the UK to accompany or join others. This is a statistically significant increase compared to 59,000 who migrated for this reason in the year previously (Figure 3.11).

Figure 3.11: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of Immigration to the UK, by Main Reason for Migration, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)

Figure 3.11: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of Immigration to the UK, by Main Reason for Migration, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for 2013 and 2014 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 Granted 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 June 2014, there were increases in the total number of visas granted for all work purposes (+10% to 159,302) and for study (excluding student visitors, +7% to 218,295). These figures are still lower compared with the peak figures for work in the year ending December 2006 (-36%, 249,634) and study (excluding student visitors) in the year ending June 2010 (-32%, 320,183). The number of visas granted for family reasons increased in the year ending June 2014 compared with the previous 12 months (6%, to 35,762).

Previous falls in the number of visas granted 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 they extend three months beyond the period covered by the latest provisional LTIM estimates. However, in making comparisons, it should be recognised many visas are granted for periods of less than 12 months.

Figure 3.12: UK Entry Clearance Visas Granted, Including Dependants, by Reason (Excluding Visitor and Transit Visas), 2005–2014

Figure 3.12: UK Entry Clearance Visas Granted, Including Dependants, by Reason (Excluding Visitor and Transit Visas), 2005–2014
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

In the year ending December 2005, a total of 191,584 study visas were issued (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 the previous year. Following this peak there has been a fall in the number of visas granted for the purposes of study (excluding student visitors) to 204,410 in the year ending June 2013. The figure has now risen to 218,295 for the year ending June 2014, a 7% increase compared with the year ending June 2013 (see Figure 3.12).

The main nationalities to show an increase in the number of study visas granted (excluding student visitors) in the year ending June 2014 were Chinese (3,979, +7%), Brazilian (2,649, +115%), Malaysian (1,852, +23%) and Libyan (1,550, +64%) nationals. There were also decreases for other nationalities such as Pakistani (-2,511, -35%) and Indian (1,711, -12%).

There was also an 8% increase (5,636) in (short-term) student visitor visas granted to 78,109 in the year ending June 2014. Student visitor 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.

Statistics on sponsored applications for visas by education sector suggests that the falls in study visas granted have been in the non-university sector (see Figure 3.13). The number of sponsored student visa applications was virtually unchanged from the previous year and stood at 206,726 in the year ending June 2014 (compared with 206,870 in the previous 12 months). However, there was a 5% increase for the university sector (UK-based Higher Education Institutions) and falls of 25%, 4% and 5% respectively for the further education sector (tertiary, further education or other colleges), English language schools and independent schools in total for the year compared to the previous year.

As a consequence, the share of visa applications for the university sector rose from 77% to 81% over the same period, while the shares for the Further Education sector fell from 13% to 10%.

Figure 3.13: Study-Related Sponsored Visa Applications by Sector, Q4 2010- Q2 2014

Figure 3.13: Study-Related Sponsored Visa Applications by Sector, Q4 2010- Q2 2014
Source: Home Office

Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. The chart excludes sponsored visa applications from a small number of other sponsors.

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Source: Home Office

The highest 12-monthly total for work-related visas granted 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 a low point of 141,752 for the year ending March 2013. It has increased to 159,302 in the year ending June 2014 (up 10% on the previous 12 months). In the year ending June 2014, the highest numbers of work-related visas were issued to Indian (35%), Australian (10%) and United States (9%) nationals.

More detailed information on work-related visas granted 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 and family are available on the GOV.UK website.

In addition to the visas information, the Home Office has released provisional quarterly figures up to June 2014 on asylum applications. The number of applications for asylum, excluding dependants, in the year ending June 2014 (23,479) was slightly lower than the year ending June 2013 (23,523). The number of applications in year ending June 2014 remains low relative to the peak number of applications in the year ending December 2002 (84,132), and is now similar to the levels seen in the year ending December 2006 (23,608). Asylum applications now typically account for only 5% of long-term inflows. The largest number of asylum applications in the year ending June 2014 came from Pakistan (3,081), Eritrea (2,115), Iran (2,041), and Syria (1,716) (Figure 3.14).

Figure 3.14: Applications for Asylum in the UK, Excluding Dependants, 2002-2014

Figure 3.14: Applications for Asylum in the UK, Excluding Dependants, 2002-2014
Source: Home Office

Notes:

  1. Figures from 2013 onwards are provisional and subject to change.

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Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April - June 2014

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, do not show when a person has immigrated to the UK and have differences in timing and coverage.

The number of NINos registered to non-UK nationals shows 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. The total number of NINo registrations to adult overseas nationals in the year ending June 2014 was 566,000, a decrease of 7,000 (1%) on the year ending June 2013.

A change to the process of recording NINos during the quarter April-June 2014, means that the volume of NINo registrations recorded are lower in this quarter than would otherwise be the case (estimated to be around 15%–25% lower in the quarter April-June 2014 and 2%–5% lower for the year to June 2014). Therefore, comparisons of NINo registrations over time for the latest periods (quarterly and annually) should be viewed with caution. The process issues impact all nationalities, i.e. the impact is not skewed to migrants from specific countries.

It should be noted that NINo registrations data do not feed into estimates of long-term international migration.

The number of NINo registrations to adult overseas nationals from within the EU in the year ending June 2014 was 421,000, an increase of 23,000 (6%) on the previous year. Of these, the number of NINos allocated to Accession nationals (that is, those of all 13 Accession countries including Croatia – see Glossary) in the year ending June 2014 was 249,000, an increase of 35,000 (16%) on the previous year. The proportion of all NINos allocated to European Union Accession nationals in the year ending June 2014 was 44%. By comparison 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 allocated to adult overseas nationals from outside the EU in the year ending June 2014 was 144,000, a decrease of 17% from the previous year. Following this continued decline, the figure now stands at less than half the peak of 344,000 in the year ending March 2011 (Figure 3.15).

Figure 3.15: National Insurance Number Allocations to Adult Overseas Nationals by World Area of Origin, UK, 2004–2014

Figure 3.15: National Insurance Number Allocations to Adult Overseas Nationals by World Area of Origin, UK, 2004–2014
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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Table 2 shows the top 20 nationalities for National Insurance number (NINo) allocations to adult overseas nationals for the year ending June 2014. The largest increases in the number of allocations were to nationals of Romania (up 46,000 to 63,000), Bulgaria (up 12,000 to 22,000) and Italy (up 3,000 to 39,000). The highest number of registrations continued to be to Polish citizens (92,000).

Table 2: New National Insurance Number Registrations to Adult Overseas Nationals Entering the UK - Top 20 Registrations Year Ending June 2014

Thousands
  2012 / 2013 2013 / 2014 Difference  % Change to previous year
Total 572.88 565.72 -7.16 -1%
European Union 398.03 420.65 22.62 6%
Non European Union 174.43 144.18 -30.25 -17%
Poland 96.48 91.56 -4.92 -5%
Romania 17.69 63.43 45.74 259%
Spain 47.32 41.07 -6.26 -13%
Italy 35.83 38.53 2.70 8%
India 30.78 25.92 -4.87 -16%
Portugal 26.13 24.14 -1.99 -8%
Bulgaria 9.99 21.59 11.61 116%
Hungary 25.22 20.23 -4.98 -20%
France 21.90 20.02 -1.88 -9%
Rep of Lithuania 26.61 19.34 -7.27 -27%
Rep of Ireland 15.83 14.78 -1.05 -7%
Pakistan 15.30 10.68 -4.61 -30%
Slovak Rep 11.69 10.68 -1.01 -9%
China Peoples Rep 11.84 10.07 -1.78 -15%
Rep of Latvia 13.26 9.59 -3.66 -28%
Nigeria 10.39 9.58 -0.81 -8%
Germany 10.98 9.45 -1.53 -14%
Australia 11.64 9.15 -2.49 -21%
Greece 8.96 8.30 -0.65 -7%
Czech Rep 8.44 7.91 -0.53 -6%

Table source: Work and Pensions

Table notes:

  1. A change to the process of recording NINos during the quarter April-June 2014, means that the volume of NINo registrations recorded are lower in this quarter than would otherwise be the case (estimated to be around 15%-25% lower in the quarter April-June 2014 and 2%-5% lower for the year to June 2014). Therefore, comparisons of NINo registrations over time for the latest periods (quarterly and annually) should be viewed with caution. The process issues impact all nationalities, i.e. the impact is not skewed to migrants from specific countries. It should be noted that NINo registrations data do not feed into estimates of long-term international migration.
  2. The figures are based on recorded registration date on the National Insurance Recording and Pay as you Earn System, i.e. after the NINo application process has been completed. This may be a number of weeks or months (and in some cases years) after arriving in the UK.
  3. The number of new registrations of NINos to non-UK nationals over a given period is not the same as the total number of non-UK nationals who hold a NINo.
  4. The total number of non-UK nationals who have been allocated a NINo 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.
  5. Some people arriving into the UK may already hold a NINo from a previous stay in the UK. Once a person has been allocated a NINo, they do not need to reapply in order to work in the UK.

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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 March 2014, work continues to be the main reason given for emigration and accounts for 58% of emigrants. An estimated 184,000 people emigrated from the UK for work-related reasons in the year ending March 2014, an identical figure to the previous year (Figure 3.2).

In the year ending March 2014, of those 184,000 emigrants leaving for work-related reasons, 108,000 (59%) left for a definite job. The remaining 76,000 (41%) left to look for work. The relative proportions of definite job and looking for work have remained fairly constant over time.

The number of British citizens emigrating was estimated at 131,000 for the year ending March 2014. 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 (69,000 in the year ending March 2014), 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, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)

Figure 3.2: Long-Term International Migration Estimates of Emigration from the UK, by Main Reason, 2004–2014 (Year Ending March 2014)
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for 2013 and 2014 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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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 20 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.

4. 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 August 2014. The department releasing each product is indicated.

The MSQR User Information (ONS) (318.4 Kb Pdf) - guidance on interpreting confidence intervals, the difference between provisional and final estimates, and the comparability and quality of input data sources.

International Migration Statistics First Time User Guide (ONS) (199.4 Kb Pdf)  – an introduction to the key concepts underpinning migration statistics including basic information on definitions, methodology, use of confidence intervals and information on the range of available statistics related to migration.

Guidance on revised net migration statistics (ONS) (55.9 Kb Pdf)  – information for users on how to interpret the revised net migration estimates for 2001 to 2011 alongside published LTIM estimates.

Long-term international migration – frequently asked questions and background notes (ONS) (413 Kb Pdf) – information on recent trends in migration, methods and coverage, comparisons to international migration estimates, a complete list of definitions and terms and a guide to the published tables.

Quality and Methodology Information for International Migration (ONS) (327.8 Kb Pdf)  – information on the usability and fitness for purpose of long-term international migration estimates.

Long-term international migration estimates methodology (ONS) (1.27 Mb Pdf) – a detailed methodology document for LTIM estimates, including information on current methodology and assumptions, data sources including the International Passenger Survey and changes to the methodology since 1991.

International Passenger Survey: Quality Information in Relation to Migration Flows (ONS) (500.4 Kb Pdf) – an overview of the quality and reliability of the International Passenger Survey (IPS) in relation to producing long-term international migration estimates.

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. This product is updated annually in August.

Population by country of birth and nationality (ONS) – This short report focuses on annual and regional changes in the UK resident population by nationality and country of birth for the year ending December 2013. The product is published annually in August.

Short-term International Migration annual report (ONS) – A report and tables detailing estimates of short-term migration to and from the UK for England and Wales for the year ending mid-2012. The product is published annually in May.

Quarterly Releases on 28 August 2014:

  1. Provisional Long-Term International Migration, year ending March 2014 (ONS). 

  2. Immigration Statistics April-June 2014 (Home Office) 

  3. National Insurance Number (NINo) Allocations to Adult Overseas Nationals to June 2014 (DWP)

Annual Releases on 28 August 2014:

  1. Local Area Migration Indicators Suite (ONS)

  2. Population by Country of Birth and Nationality report (ONS)

  3. Population by Country of Birth and Nationality tables (ONS) (465.5 Kb Excel sheet)

  4. Underlying datasheets for population by country of birth and nationality tables (ONS) (3.79 Mb Excel sheet)

  5. Population by country of birth and nationality from the Annual Population Survey (for Scottish council areas): January to December 2012 (NRS)

  6. Parents’ Country of Birth 2013 (ONS)

Additional Useful links:

Labour Market Statistics - August 2014 (ONS). This includes estimates of the number of people in employment in the UK by country of birth and nationality.

Quality of Long-Term International Migration estimates from 2001-2011(ONS) (1.04 Mb Pdf)

International Migration Timeline (ONS)

Final Long-Term International migration (2012) (ONS)

Migrant Journey report 4 (Home Office)

5. Future releases

The remaining quarterly migration release date in 2014 is:

  • Thursday 27 November.

This will contain the final long-term international migration estimates for the calendar year 2013.

6. 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 28 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. Estimates for the EU quoted in this bulletin and accompanying tables exclude British citizens, who are reported as a separate group.

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. Between 2007 and 2013, EU2 nationals had certain restrictions placed on them; in the first 12 months of stay, working Bulgarian and Romanian nationals were generally required to hold an accession worker card or apply for one of two lower-skilled quota schemes. Other Bulgarian and Romanian nationals could apply for a registration certificate, giving proof of a right to live in the UK. These restrictions were 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.

National Insurance Number (NINo)

National Insurance numbers are issued to non-UK nationals immigrating for work. The number of NINos will include people who are coming to the UK for short periods or temporary purposes, as well as long-term migrants. The figures are based on recorded registration date on the National Insurance Recording and Pay as you Earn System, i.e. after the NINo application process has been completed. This may be a number of weeks or months (and in some cases years) after arriving in the UK.

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 and Gambia withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003 and 2013 respectively, but again the definition for this grouping has remained unchanged.

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.

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
Pamela Cobb +44 (0)1329 444097 Migration Statistics Unit migstatsunit@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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