The latest ONS provisional estimates of Long Term International Migration (LTIM)1 show that there was a statistically significant2 increase in net migration to 212,000 in the year ending September 2013 from 154,000 the previous year. Net migration is the difference between immigration to and emigration from the UK. The increase in net migration is due to the combined effect of a slight increase in immigration and a slight decrease in emigration, neither of which were statistically significant changes.
532,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending September 2013, compared to 497,000 the previous year, whilst 320,000 people emigrated from the UK compared to 343,000 the previous year. The chart below shows how these changes compare with trends in UK immigration, emigration and net migration since 1970.
Total long-term international migration estimates, UK, 1970 to 2013
- Figures for YE Mar 13, YE June 13 and YE September 2013 are provisional. Provisional rolling quarterly estimates are denoted by a cross. All other figures are final calendar year estimates of LTIM.
Who is migrating to the UK?
Non-EU citizens accounted for 46% of immigration to the UK in the year ending September 2013, with EU citizens accounting for 39% and British citizens 15%. The recent patterns in total net migration have been affected by changes in migration flows between EU citizens and non-EU citizens.
Immigration of EU citizens (excluding British citizens) to the UK in the year ending September 2013 was 209,000, the highest estimate on record and a statistically significant increase from 149,000 the previous year. Emigration of EU citizens from the UK remained broadly similar over the same period, meaning that net migration of EU citizens doubled to 131,000, a statistically significant increase from 65,000 the previous year.
Conversely, there was a statistically significant decrease in immigration of non-EU citizens to 244,000 in the year ending September 2013 from 269,000 the previous year. Net migration of non-EU citizens has experienced a slight (but not statistically significant) fall to 141,000 from 160,000 the previous year.
Why are people immigrating to the UK?
Between 2009 and 2012, formal study was the most common main reason for immigration to the UK. However, work-related reasons have recently overtaken formal study as the most common main reason and this trend has continued in the latest figures.
In the year ending September 2013, 176,000 people immigrated to the UK for formal study, whilst 218,000 immigrated for work-related reasons. This is a statistically significant increase from the previous year when 175,000 people immigrated for work-related reasons and is the highest estimate since 2008. Of those immigrating for work-related reasons in the year ending September 2013, 63% (138,000) came with a definite job to go to and 37% (80,000) came to look for work.
Provisional estimates from the International Passenger Survey show that 61% (129,000) of those immigrating for work-related reasons were EU citizens (excluding British citizens), whilst 20% (43,000) were non-EU citizens. Conversely, of those immigrating for formal study, 72% (124,000) were non-EU citizens and 23% (39,000) were EU citizens.
Where can I get more information about migration?
These statistics were analysed by the Migration Statistics Unit at ONS. Long-Term International Migration estimates are based largely on data from the International Passenger Survey, carried out by ONS. If you would like to find out more about the latest international migration statistics, you can read the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report or visit our international migration page. If you have any comments or suggestions, we would like to hear them. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
1A long-term migrant is defined as someone who changes their country of usual residence for a period of at least a year.
2A change between two estimates is described as ‘statistically significant’ when statistical tests have been carried out to reject the possibility that the change has occurred by chance. For more information about statistical significance, please refer to section 4 of the Long-Term International Migration Frequently Asked Questions and Background Notes (411.5 Kb Pdf) .