1. Headline figures

  • The number of stays lasting 1-12 months by short-term international immigrants to England and Wales has increased from 996,000 for the year to mid-2010 to 1,098,000 to the year to mid-2011. This change is statistically significant

  • There were 236,000 stays of 3-12 months in the year to mid-2011 compared with 213,000 for the year to mid-2010

  • There was a statistically significant increase in stays of 3-12 months made for ‘other’ reasons, including recreation, holiday and visits to friends and relatives, from 83,000 in the year to mid-2010 to 114,000 for the year to mid-2011

  • In the year to mid-2011 there was a statistically significant increase in 25-34 year old short-term international emigrants leaving for 3-12 months. They made 97,000 trips in the year to mid-2011 compared to 68,000 in the year to mid-2010

  • Australia was the most popular destination for 3-12 months short-term trips by residents of England and Wales; 32,000 were made in the year to mid-2011. India was the second most popular destination with 30,000 visits in the same period

  • There were 98,000 stays lasting 3-12 months for the main reason of work or study in the year ending mid-2011, broadly similar to the estimate of 116,000 for the year to mid-2010. This estimate is distributed to local authorities

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2. Introduction

Welcome to the first Short-Term International Migration Annual Report. This statistical bulletin contains estimates of short-term international migration to and from the UK for England and Wales. It examines the latest figures for the year ending mid-2011 (1st July 2010 to 30th June 2011) and provides breakdowns by variables such as age, sex, main reason for migrating and citizenship. Also included are local authority short-term international immigration estimates and data from the Home Office on the number of short-term entry clearance visas issued. Short-term migration is migration for periods of between 3 and 12 months and short-term entry clearance visas are those issued for less than 12 months.

The bulletin highlights the key patterns in short-term international migration. Users can also access the Short-term international migration data tables used to compile this report and the methodology used to calculate the national estimates and the local authority estimates. A series of frequently asked questions is also available to explain common queries about these statistics. We would welcome any feedback on this first Short-term International Migration Annual Report. In particular, we welcome feedback on which content is most useful. Please email migstatsunit@ons.gov.uk.

National Short-Term International Migration estimates and Local Authority Short-Term International Immigration estimates for the year ending mid-2011 have been produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The National Short-Term International Migration estimates have been released annually since 2007 and refer to short-term international migration moves into and out of the UK for England and Wales.

Local Authority Short-Term International Migration estimates were first released as experimental statistics in February 2012.

The statistics presented in this bulletin are National Statistics following assessment by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA). For more information please see the UKSA’s report “Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics on Short-term International Immigration for England and Wales”.

The statistics for the year ending mid-2011 are provisional estimates. Statistics for the year ending mid-2010 that have previously been published as provisional estimates are now final. Further information on the use of provisional estimates and the differences between provisional and final data can be found in the frequently asked questions.

Short-term international migration estimates relate to the number of migration events rather than the number of people – so if one person enters or leaves the UK for more than a month, more than once, each of their journeys is counted.

The most recent release includes some minor corrections to previously published data. These are detailed in the frequently asked questions.

This publication reports on differences between estimates that have been checked for statistical significance. This determines if differences are likely to be a real change or could have occurred by chance. More information on the procedure can be found in the frequently asked questions. The strengths and limitations of the estimates can be found in the Quality and Methodology Information document.

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3. Definition of short-term international migration

Short-term migration statistics were developed as part of the Migration Statistics Improvement Programme. The ONS uses 3 different definitions of a short-term international migrant:

  1. the UN definition of a short-term migrant: A short-term migrant is a person who moves to a country other than that of his or her usual residence for a period of at least three months but less than a year (12 months) except in cases where the movement to that country is for purposes of recreation, holiday, visits to friends or relatives, business, medical treatment or religious pilgrimage. In practice, this is defined as a visit of 3-12 months for the purpose of work or study

  2. 3-12 month definition including all reasons for migration

  3. all reasons for migration but including stays of 1 – 12 months

The UN definition is used to allow international comparisons, and this can also be calculated at the Local Authority level. The other definitions are incorporated in response to user demand:

In the year to mid-2011 there were 862,000 short-term international migrant stays for 1-2 months compared with 236,000 stays of between 3 and 12 months. Of the 3-12 month stays, 98,000 fulfilled the UN definition. Short-term international migrants who stay for 3 to 12 months are more likely to use local services and become economically active. For this reason, this report focuses on 3-12 month stays, although some figures for 1-12 month stays are provided for comparison.

Short-term international migration estimates relate to the number of migration events rather than the number of people – so if one person enters or leaves the UK for more than a month, more than once, each of their journeys is counted.

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4. How national short-term international migration estimates are calculated

Short-term international migration statistics are calculated using data from the International Passenger Survey (IPS). The IPS surveys a random sample of passengers entering and leaving the UK by air, sea or the Channel Tunnel and is carried out by ONS.

Short-term migrants are interviewed at the end of their stay. For immigrants, who must be foreign residents to qualify, this means being interviewed when they leave the UK at the end of their stay. For short-term emigrants, who must be England and Wales residents to qualify, this means being interviewed when they arrive back in the UK. This means estimates are based on actual behaviour. By contrast, estimates of long-term international migration are based on interviews undertaken when the migrant arrives, and thus estimates are based on their intended behaviour. To be a resident of a foreign country or the UK, the migrant must have lived there for 12 months. A full explanation of the method used for short-term international migration estimates can be found in the Quality and Methodology Information document.

The IPS is also used to calculate Long-Term International Migration statistics and Travel and Tourism statistics. Although these estimates describe international flows to and from the UK they are used for different purposes.

To be counted as a long-term international migrant a person must migrate for 12 months or more, whilst short-term international migrants must migrate for less than one year. There is therefore no overlap between long-term and short-term migrants.

There are however overlaps between short-term international migration statistics, counting visits by ‘migrants’ of 1-12 months, and travel and tourism statistics which count visits by ‘visitors’ of over 1 day but less than 12 months. Estimates of visitors are considerably higher than those of migrants. Although there is some overlapping sample between the two statistics, they examine different characteristics of the short-term visitors/migrants.

For moves within the UK, users should refer to internal migration statistics available on the ONS website.

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5. How local authority short-term international migration estimates are calculated

The local authority estimates were published as experimental statistics for the first time in February 2012. They were developed as a result of improved access to several administrative sources for students and workers, which allowed ONS to use these sources to distribute England and Wales short-term immigration to local authorities. Local authority estimates use the UN definition – migrants coming to England and Wales for a period of 3-12 months for the purpose of work or study - because sources to distribute migrants to local authorities exist for students and workers but not for those migrating for other reasons. Sources are not available to provide robust Local Authority estimates for 1 to 12 months. Further information on the method and sources used can be found in the Quality and Methodology Information document.

For local authorities ONS currently only produces immigration estimates. Estimates of short-term international emigration from local authorities are not available because there is no suitable data available to distribute estimates of short-term emigration to local authorities.

Further migration data at Local Authority level are available in the Local Area Migration Indicator Suite (6.6 Mb Excel sheet).

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6. Uses of short-term international migration data

Short-term international migration statistics have been developed in response to users’ requirements for more information on population and migration, and on the characteristics of migrants.

Local authorities are among the major users of short-term immigration statistics. They use estimates for planning and monitoring service delivery, resource allocation and managing budgets.

Short-term international immigration estimates fill a gap by measuring the migrant population that is present in England and Wales for less than a year and therefore does not appear in the ONS mid- year population estimates, as they are not considered usual residents.

To be counted as a short-term international migrant...

...those coming to England and Wales must be ‘usually resident’ (i.e. lived for more than 12 months) outside UK

...those leaving England and Wales must be ‘usually resident’ (i.e. lived for more than 12 months) in UK

Interviews are conducted at the end of a migrants stay. If the migrant’s ACTUAL reported stay length is between 1 and 12 months and they match the definition above, they are a short-term international migrant. They have been short-term migrants and they will not change from short-term to long-term migrants.

There is no net migration:

  • as those coming to England and Wales are counted IN as short-term migrants but not OUT as short-term migrants (because they are not usually resident in the UK), the concept of a remaining ‘stock’ or net migration doesn’t make sense

  • short-term international migrants do not stay for more than 12 months and do not become ‘usually resident’, they are not added to the population estimate so calculating a net migration figure for short-term international migrants does not have the value that it does for long-term international migration

Definitions of Work and Study

Includes

  • Work Working for employer based in UK

  • Study Higher education and further education courses

Excludes

  • ‘Business trips’ where the migrant is paid by an organisation in their country of origin

  • ‘Informal study’ – for example evening classes or private lessons

Year to Mid-year is 1st July to 30th June – the latest period, the year to mid-2011, relates to stays begun between 1st July 2010 and 30th June 2011.

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7. What are the latest figures of short-term international migration?

Figure 1: Latest figures of short-term international immigration

Figure 1: Latest figures of short-term international immigration

Source: Office for National Statistics
Notes:
  1. This report focuses on visits of 3-12 months for any reason. 3-12 month visits for Work/Study are used in the local authority estimates

1-12 month visits for any reason

Short-term international immigration visits to England and Wales lasting 1-12 months have increased from 996,000 for the year ending mid-2010 to 1,098,000 for the year ending mid-2011. This increase is statistically significant. Short-term international immigration to England and Wales for 1-12 months remained below the peak of 1,437,000 seen in mid-2006 (Figure 2).

The number of short-term visits by England and Wales residents overseas for the year ending mid-2011 was 2,539,000 similar to 2,622,000 in the year ending mid-2010.

The number of short-term emigrant trips away is more than double the number of visits to England and Wales.

Those leaving must have lived in England and Wales for more than a year, been away from the UK for less than a year and return to England and Wales at the end of their trip. These tend to be British citizens, but include other residents. Those arriving must have lived outside the UK for more than a year. These tend to be foreign citizens, but include British citizens. Returning short-term emigrants of England and Wales are not counted back in as immigrants when they return from a trip outside the UK as they have not been outside the UK for more than a year. For this reason a net or balance migration figure does not make sense and so is not provided for short-term international migration estimates.

3-12 month visits for any reason

There were 236,000 short-term international stays in England and Wales for 3-12 months in the year ending mid-2011. This compares with 213,000 for the year ending mid-2010.

There were 366,000 short-term visits for 3-12 months by England and Wales residents overseas in the year ending mid-2011, compared with 388,000 for the year ending mid-2010.

For context, 535,000 long-term international migrants arrived in England and Wales in the year to mid-2011, and 523,000 arrived in the year to mid-2010. For further information please see the long-term international migration estimates.

The population of England and Wales was estimated at 56,170,900 for the year to mid-2011 and 55,692,400 for the year to mid-2010. For further information please see the mid-year population estimates. Short-term international migration does not add to the population counted in the mid-year population estimates, but is in addition to the usually resident population.

3-12 month visits for work or study

There were 98,000 short-term international stays in England and Wales for 3-12 months for the main reason of work or study in the year ending mid-2011. This compares with 116,000 for the year ending mid-2010.

As Figure 1 shows, work or study represents a small proportion of short-term international migrant stays of 3-12 months.

There were 36,000 short-term visits for 3-12 months by England and Wales residents overseas for the main reason of work or study in the year ending mid-2011, compared with 31,000 for the year ending mid-2010.

This definition of short-term international migration is used for the Local Authority estimates. For further information, see the later section ‘Which Local Authorities do short-term international immigrants go to?’

The remainder of this report focuses on short-term international migrants who visit for 3-12 months, for any reason.

The 1-12 month definition features a large number of those visiting for ‘other reasons’, particularly for those leaving England and Wales, who tend to be British. The 1-2 month visits are more likely to be for recreation or visiting friends and relatives.

Amongst those visiting or leaving for 3-12 months students and workers make up a higher proportion than those visiting or leaving for 1-12 months. Focussing on 3-12 month stays enables ONS to concentrate analysis on those mostly likely to use resources and to differentiate trends in migration from trends in travel and tourism.

Short-term migration estimates can be used to estimate the impact on the population stock. For example, if four migrants each stayed in England and Wales for three months, this would be the equivalent of one person for one year, and so the stock count would be 1. Likewise two migrants staying for six months would give the equivalent of one person staying for one year. In the second example the number of arrivals is half that of the first example, but results in the same stock estimate. Stocks are calculated from the number of stays and the length of stay, so an increase in either can lead to an increase in stocks. Stocks give an average number of migrants in the country on an average day (please see the detailed methodology document for more information on how stocks are calculated).

Stock estimates are referred to as in-stock – those coming into England and Wales - or out-stock, those who have left England and Wales.

Figure 3 shows that both in-stock and out-stock estimates are similar to the previous year. The in-stock of those visiting for 3-12 months for the year ending mid-2011 was 97,000 compared with 90,000 for the year ending mid-2010. The out-stock estimate for the year ending mid-2011 was 147,000 compared with 152,000 for the year ending mid-2010. It also shows that the out-stock tends to be greater, i.e. on an average day there will be 10 short-term international migrants staying in England and Wales from outside the UK, for every 15 usual England and Wales residents living abroad for between 3 and 12 months. As referred to previously, an estimate of net short-term migration is not appropriate, but this does show that the effect of short-term migration on the resident population in any one year is negative.

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8. Who is migrating to and from England and Wales?

This section explores short-term international migration patterns by age, sex and citizenship

Who is immigrating to England and Wales?

Provisional estimates show that for the year ending mid-2011 85,000 trips were made by short-term international immigrants aged 16-24, and 68,000 were made by those aged 25-34. Together these age groups make up two thirds of all the short-term international stays in England and Wales in the year ending mid-2011.

The latest figures are lower than the peaks of 166,000 stays by 16-24 year old short-term international immigrants and 107,000 stays by 25-34 year old short-term international immigrants in the year ending mid-2006 (Figure 4).

In the year ending mid-2011, 119,000 stays were by male short-term international immigrants whilst 117,000 were made by females (Figure 5). The split between males and females visiting England and Wales for 3-12 months varies each year and shows no obvious difference in trend.

The largest number of stays in England and Wales in the year ending mid-2011 (57,000) were made by citizens of ‘Other Foreign’ countries (neither British, EU, or New or Old Commonwealth). This compares with 47,000 for the year ending mid-2010. In the year ending mid-2011, 52,000 stays were made by New Commonwealth citizens compared to 41,000 in the year ending mid-2010.

In the year ending mid-2011, 33,000 stays were made by short-term international immigrants of EU8 citizenship in England and Wales. This is lower than the peak of 108,000 in the year ending mid-2006, indicating an increase in short term migration following EU8 accession to the EU in 2004 that has subsequently decreased.

Short-term entry clearance visas

Definitions

In the discussion that follows a short term visa is defined as being a visa of less than 12 months duration. The UN definition of short term migrants relates to those who change their country of usual residence for between 3 and 12 months for the purposes of work or study. In line with this UN definition the analysis of visas presented here relates solely to those who have arrived in the UK for work or study on short term visas.

It is important to recognise that visa duration does not necessarily represent the length of stay as many individuals will depart prior to the expiry date; whilst a proportion of these may also be granted extensions of stay. So, for example, it is not possible to determine whether a holder of a visa has actually stayed for 3 months or more.

The term regular study visa is used to denote those visas issued through the main study visa system. Figures are also presented for the separate student visitor scheme. There is some overlap in duration between student visitor and regular study visas (e.g. both could be granted for 6 months) where applicants have a choice as to which to choose (with there being generally more restrictions placed on student visitor visas).

Most student visitor visas are issued for a fixed 6 months duration, or in some limited conditions for 11 months (with no possibility of extension in either case). From the 6 months fixed visa duration it is not possible to make any inference as to whether an actual visit exceeded 3 months. However, for short term visas for work and for regular study visas, the length of visa is more likely to reflect an individual’s initial planned length of stay with the length actually granted reflecting the time period needed for a work placement or course of study.

At the boundary between long and short term visas only a small proportion of visas are issued for exactly a year (365 or 366 days). However, in 2012 these represented only 0.4% (852) of the total for all regular study visas and 4% (6,211) of all work visas.

The figures presented here relate to visas issued for entry clearance to the United Kingdom, and do not related to individual countries within the UK. The data include dependants.

Coverage

Visa data provides only partial coverage of short term migrants since it normally relates to those non-EEA nationals, who are subject to immigration control, and who require a visa. European Economic Area (EEA) nationals do not normally require a visa to enter the UK (a small number of EEA nationals do apply and are issued visas).

Additionally, for those non-EEA nationals classified as ‘non-visa nationals’ (e.g. citizens of the United States, Brazil and Japan) a visa is not normally required for visits of less than 6 months. Further details and a full list of non-visa nationals are given at Information for non-visa nationals.

There are two ways in which non-visa nationals can enter the UK for work and study purposes without a visa. Non-visa nationals are allowed to work in the UK without a visa, but only for sporting or creative work of less than 3 months duration, this falling outside the scope of the UN definition of a short term migrant. However, for study there are many more admitted into the UK under the student visitor scheme than visas issued as non-visa nationals are allowed to study under the scheme for up to 6 months without a requirement for a visa.

Note Some data presented here is based on a more recent extract from the underlying administrative data source, and therefore may not exactly match totals published in Immigration Statistics January to March 2013

Short term entry clearance visas for work or study

In 2012 there were 56,964 short term visas issued for work, 53,377 regular study visas and 68,355 under the separate student visitor scheme. The work and study visas are issued under the different tiers of the Points Based System (PBS) (see the Glossary for more details).

Figure 7 below shows trends in short term visas issued for work, study and student visitor visas since 2005.

Longer term trends

After broadly falling from 2006, the number of short term work visas issued increased by 65% from 34,583 in 2009 to 56,964 in 2012.

While the number of short term regular study visas issued had remained broadly similar since 2005, there has been a 20% fall from 2009 (66,974) to 2012 (53,377).

Student visitor visas have been increasing apart from a small decrease in 2009. Between 2009 and 2012 the number issued increased 81% from 37,692 to 68,355.

Table 1 below contains a summary of the most recent numbers of short term work, regular study and student visitor visa numbers as well as student visitor admissions.

Latest trends

  • There was a 30% (13,182) increase in short term work visas issued, from 43,782 in 2011 to 56,964 in 2012. There was also an 11% (6,968) increase for student visitor visas from 61,387 in 2011 to 68,355 in 2012, but this was offset by a decrease of 8% (-4,656) for regular study visas from 58,033 in 2011 to 53,377 in 2012

  • The 13,182 (30%) increase in work-related short term visas in 2012 was mainly accounted for by increases for visas issued for skilled workers (Tier 2, up 10,162 or +70%, largely due to increases for intra-company transfers up 10,811 or +94%), youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5, up 1,802 or +16%), and high value workers (Tier 1, up 1,005 or +36%, this was largely related to closed visa categories within Tier 1 where dependants can still continue to apply to join main applicants)

  • There was also a 9% (+22,000) increase for student visitor admissions from 240,000 in 2010 to 262,000 in 2011 (2011 is the most recent year available). This includes large numbers of admissions for non-visa nationals (such as the United States and Brazilian nationals) who if studying for less than six months do not require a visa. Of those admitted as student visitors in 2011, nearly half (44%) were from the United States (115,000) with Brazil the next largest nationality (7%, 19,300)

The ‘Study’ topic of Home Office’s Immigration Statistics January to March 2013 provides a comparison of trends for student visitor visas issued with overall figures for regular study visas (both long and short term). Although there has been an increase in total student visitor visas issued in 2012 (up 6,966 or +11%) at the same time as a fall in total numbers of regular study visas (down 52,066, or -20%), the pattern for individual nationalities does not indicate a clear or consistent relationship.

Those nationalities accounting for most of the 52,066 fall in total study visas issued (Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) have seen only very small changes in the number of regular student visitor visas issued, numbering +73, +20, +8 and -12 respectively, indicating that there has not been any systematic displacement from regular study visas to student visitor visas.

Short term visas issued, by length of visa

Of the 145,612 work visas in 2012, there were 56,964 (39%) that were short term. Of the short term work visas 7,579 (13%) were for less than three months, 23,725 (42%) for between three and six months and a further 25,660 (45%) were for over six months and less than a year.

Of the 209,842 regular study visas in 2012, there were 53,377 (25%) that were short term. Of the short term study visas 4,566 (9%) were for less than three months, 21,614 (40%) for between three and six months and a further 27,197 (51%) were for over six months and less than a year.

If students intend to study for less than 6 months they also have the option of applying for a visa under the student visitor scheme (though there are generally more restrictions on student visitors). This will have an influence numbers of those applying for short term regular study visa of less than 6 months duration.

In 2012 68,355 student visitor visas were issued, of which 83% (57,047) were issued for up to 6 months and 17% (11,308) were issued for the up to 11 month extended period mentioned above.

Combining the short term regular study visas and student visitor visas together gives a total of 83,227 (68%) that were issued for up to 6 months and 38,505 (32%) for more than 6 month but less than a year.

Who is emigrating from England and Wales?

Those leaving England and Wales as short-term international migrants in the year ending mid-2011 were most likely to be aged 16 – 34, with 104,000 overseas trips made by 16-24 year olds and 97,000 by 25-34 year olds. The number of trips made by 25-34 year olds as short-term international emigrants has increased significantly from the year ending mid-2010, when 68,000 trips were made by 25-34 year olds.

30,000 short-term trips were made by 35-44 year-olds in the year to mid-2011, statistically significantly fewer than 50,000 made in the year to mid-2010 and the lowest figure for this age group for all years in the series.

Provisional estimates for the year ending mid-2011 show 169,000 trips were made by females leaving England and Wales, the same as in the previous year. Males made 198,000 trips in the year ending mid-2011 compared with 218,000 in the year ending mid-2010. The overall trend of more males making short-term international emigrant trips than females continued (Figure 9).

In the year ending mid-2011, British citizens made 233,000 trips away from England and Wales as short-term international emigrants compared with 267,000 for the year ending mid-2010. This change is not statistically significant but it does continue the ongoing decline in British citizens making short term visits away from England and Wales, from 344,000 in the year ending mid-2004 to 233,000 in the year ending mid-2011 (figure 10).

There has been a continuous increase in non-British citizens making short-term migration trips away from England and Wales, from 66,000 in the year to mid-2004 to 134,000 for the latest period. To be counted as a short-term international emigrant from England and Wales, a person must live in England and Wales for at least a year, and return to England and Wales after their trip outside the UK – England and Wales must be their place of usual residence.

In the latest period, EU15 citizens made 33,000 trips away for 3-12 months compared with 23,000 in the year ending mid-2010. The increase in non-British citizens making short trips away has also been driven by increasing numbers of ‘Other Foreign’ citizens making trips away: 40,000 in the latest period, the same as 40,000 in the year ending mid-2010, and compared with 28,000 in the year ending mid-2009.

The resident population of the UK has increased due to long-term international migration over the last decade. We have seen a corresponding increase in short-term emigration by citizens of the New Commonwealth countries, increasing from 17,000 for the year to mid-2004 to 39,000 for the year to mid-2011. This increase is statistically significant. More information can be found in estimates of Long-term International Migration. Population by Country of Birth and Nationality can be used to show the impact of immigration on the population stock.

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9. Why are people migrating?

This section examines the main reasons stated for why short-term international migrants visit or leave England and Wales. It also includes Home Office data by visa type.

Why are people immigrating to England and Wales?

Respondents in the IPS give one main reason for migrating. These are summarised as ‘employment’, which includes moving for a definite job or to look for work, ‘Study’, which is for all formal higher education and further education. ‘Other employment’ is business trips where the migrant is paid by an organisation in the country of origin. This is separated because it is specifically excluded from the UN definition of work, but is a frequent reason for migration. All other main reasons for migration, recreation, holiday or visits to friends and relatives, medical treatment or religious pilgrimage, are summarised as ‘Other’. It is possible that those who migrate for ‘other’ reasons may also work or study whilst in the UK, as suggested by the 2011 Census information on Short-term Residents.

Other reasons’ is the most common reason for short-term immigration to England and Wales. 114,000 stays were made for ‘other’ reasons in the year ending mid-2011 compared with 83,000 for the year ending mid-2010. This increase is statistically significant (figure 11)

Short-term international migration for the purpose of employment was 34,000 stays for the year to mid-2011 compared with 47,000 for the year to mid-2010. There were 64,000 stays for the purpose of study in the year to mid- 2011 compared with 69,000 for the year to mid-2010. Visits for employment remained below the peak of 108,000 seen in mid-2006. Study peaked in the same year at 82,000 stays.

Different ages are likely to migrate for different reasons (Figure 12). Ages 16-24 primarily migrate for study. Of those migrating for work, the majority are aged 16-34.

Estimates of in-stocks – the number of short-term international migrants likely to be here in a given day (Figure 13) – show a statistically significant increase in the number of visits for the purpose of ‘Other Employment’ (business) from 5,000 for the year ending mid-2010 to 10,000 for the year ending mid-2011. This brings levels of short-term immigration for business (‘Other employment’) back in line with previous years. An increase in a stock estimate can be caused by an increase in the number of visits or an increase in the length of stay. There has been an increase in the numbers of those arriving for a short-term business trip, from 14,000 in the year ending mid-2010 to 24,000 for the year ending mid-2011, and there has also been an increase in the average length of stay, from 4.8 months in the year ending mid-2010 to 5.1 months in the year ending mid-2011.

Short term entry clearance visas issued by world region of nationality

Figure 14 below shows trends in short term visas issued for less than 12 months for work and study combined (including student visitors) by world region of nationality, since 2005.

Longer term trends

Total short term visas issued fell by 20,500 from 159,749 in 2006 to 139,249 in 2009 and have since risen.

Over the period 2006 to 2009 there were notable falls for short term visas issued to European nationals (-35,260, or -59%). The largest falls were for Russia (-16,749), Ukraine (-6,400), Bulgaria (-4,127) and Romania (-2,823). Most of the 35,260 fall was accounted for by 20,373 fewer work-related visas (respectively 6,191, -4,064, -3,909, -2,379 for Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania nationals) along with 11,314 fewer regular study visas (falls for Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan nationals of 3,760, 1,976 and 1,718). (Kazakhstan and the other Central Asian former Soviet Republics form part of the ‘Europe’ geographic region used in Home Office reporting of visas).

Part of the fall for European nationals was a consequence of Bulgaria and Romania joining the EU at the start of 2007 which meant that their nationals no longer required visas to enter the UK (these two nationalities together had previously recorded 6,290, 523 and 141 work, regular study and short term student visas in 2006). However, Bulgaria and Romania accounted for only a small part of the fall for European nationals from 2006 to 2009 noted above.

The number of work visas issued increased from 2009 to 2012 by 22,381 (+65%) largely reflecting increases for Asian nationals (+17,885, or +80%).

The number of regular study visas issued fell from 2009 to 2012 by 13,597 (-20%) with falls for all regions except for Asian nationals which had a 10% (+3,012) increase.

The number of student visitor visas issued increased from 2009 to 2012 by 30,663 (+81%) with increases for Asian (+11,519 or +129%), European (+7558, or +49%) and Middle Eastern (+6,210 or +111%) nationals.

Latest trends

In 2012, there was a 9% (15,494) increase in short term visas issued, from 163,202 in 2011 to 178,696. The 15,494 increase was largely accounted for by increases for Asian (+13,430) and Africans nationals (+2,456) compared to the falls for European nationals (-479) and for nationals from the Americas (-210).

  • the 13,430 rise (+17%) for Asian nationals was mainly accounted for by increases in the work (up 11,164, or +38%) and student visitor (up 3,595, or +21%) categories in contrast to a fall in the study category (down 1,329 or -4%)

  • the 2,456 rise (+17%) for African nationals was also mainly accounted for by increases in the work and student visitor categories (up 624 and 1,763, or +12% and +26% respectively)

  • by comparison there was a 479 fall (-2%) for European nationals comprising of falls for the study category (down 699 or, -24%), for student visitors (down 191, or 1%), and an increase for the work category (up 411 or +13%)

  • similarly the 210 fall (-1%) for nationals from the Americas comprised a fall for the study category (down 1,639 or -18%), and an increase for the work category (up 828 or +16%)

Why are people emigrating from England and Wales?

The number of short-term visits by residents of England and Wales overseas in the year ending mid-2011 remained similar to previous years (Figure 15). ‘Other’ reasons – visits for the purpose of recreation, holiday and visits to friends and relatives – remained the most common reason for short-term visits from England and Wales.

Similar to short-term immigrants, most (72%) emigrants leaving for the purpose of study are aged 16-24. Leaving for work reasons was most common amongst 25-34 year olds, with business trips as common as ‘employment’ in the latest period (figure 16).

There was a statistically significant increase in out-stocks for the purpose of employment, from 8,000 for the year ending mid-2010 to 13,000 for the year ending mid-2011 (figure 17).

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10. Where are short-term international migrants migrating to and from?

This section examines the origins and destinations of short-term international migrants, including the geographical breakdown of short-term immigrants within LAs of England and Wales.

Which countries do short-term international immigrants come from?

In the year ending mid-2011, India was the most common country from which short-term international migrants came, with 27,000 stays by short-term international immigrants from India, 11% of the total. 17,000, (7% of the total) were made by short-term international immigrants from Poland. India and Poland have been the top two countries of last residence for the entire period mid-2004 to year ending mid-2011. USA, France and Germany have also featured prominently in the rankings.

Figure 18 shows the number of stays by people from each of the most common countries of last residence. Inflows from Poland peaked in the year to mid-2006 when 68,000 stays were made by short-term international migrants from Poland. This compares with 42,000 stays in the year to mid-2007, and 17,000 stays in the year to mid-2011

There have been further changes in the country of origin of short-term international migrants, with a statistically significant increase in the number of stays made by migrants arriving from Pakistan, up from 3,000 in the year to mid-2010 to 8,000 in the year to mid-2011.

Which countries do short-term international emigrants go to?

In the year to mid-2011, 32,000 (9%) of short-term international emigrant trips were to Australia. This is similar to the estimate of 30,000 for the year to mid-2010.

In the year to mid-2011, 30,000 trips away from England and Wales were made by short-term international migrants to India and 25,000 went to the USA.

Spain fell from the first to the third most common country of destination for 3-12 months between the year to mid-2010 and the year to mid-2011. In the latest period, 25,000 short-term trips were made to Spain, half that of the peak of 50,000 in 2008.

Which local authorities do short-term international immigrants go to?

Local authority estimates are calculated by taking the national estimate of short-term immigration using the UN definition – those arriving for the purpose of work or study to stay for 3-12 months– and distributing it using administrative sources. Counts of short-term international migrants arriving for work (excluding business trips) and study (for formal higher or further education) are taken from IPS. These are discreet groups. In the IPS migrants are classified according to their one main reason for migration. Workers and students are distributed using different data sources according to their nationality. Using this approach minimises duplication between the sources used. The method also links record level data to minimise duplication between workers and students. However, it may be possible for a migrant to be counted in a source used to distribute workers (for example, the Migrant Worker Scan) and in one of the aggregate level data sources for students, such as the Individualised Learner Record from Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). One unusual outcome of this is that Boston has high levels of students and high levels of workers. It is thought in this instance that workers in Boston have registered for further education courses and are thus double counted in the method. For further information on the methodology see the detailed methodology document.

The estimates for local authorities presented in this bulletin are estimates of short-term international immigrants who come to England and Wales for work or study. This means that for some local authorities these estimates may not be representative of their total short-term inflow as the majority of short-term international immigrants come to England and Wales for reasons other than work or study (of those staying 3-12 months, 236,000 stays were made for any main reason for migration, 98,000 stays were for the main reason of work or study).This is also suggested by 2011 Census short-term resident estimates that show higher numbers of short-term immigrants for some local authorities than those shown in this bulletin (such as Westminster, Manchester and Birmingham). Analysis of difference between these short-term estimates and Census has been published by ONS.

The individual local authority estimates are derived from the total flow estimates for England and Wales for short term migrants staying between 3 and 12 months who arrived for work or study. For mid 2011, this estimate is 98,000 with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 17,000. It is not possible to calculate similar confidence intervals for local authorities due to the different data sources used to calculate them. However, although not possible to quantify, there will be uncertainty in these local estimates as they are based on a sample survey at the national level. Estimates are published at a unit level to enable further analysis and users are advised that these estimates are not precise counts.

Figure 20 shows the local authorities with the highest short-term immigration for the year to mid 2011. Seven are in London.

Figure 21 shows the breakdown of workers and students for the local authorities with the highest immigration for the year to mid-2011. For all areas the number of students exceeds the number of workers. The ratio of students to workers varies from Sheffield where there are 15 students for every 2 workers, to Brent where there are 15 students for every 9 workers.

Map 1: Local authority short-term immigrant estimates for main reason work or study for stays of 3-12 months, as a percentage of their mid-2011 population, mid-2011

Short-term migrant workers

Figure 22 shows the number of short-term international migrant workers in the top 10 Local Authorities in the year to mid-2011 for all years from 2008. With the exception of Peterborough, Manchester and Birmingham, all areas are in London.

At a national level, 34,000 3-12 month stays were completed for the purpose of work in the year to mid-2011, compared to 47,000 in the year to mid-2010. All Local Authorities have seen a drop in the number of short-term workers, with the largest decreases seen for Brent (48% decrease from the year ending mid-2010 to mid-2011), Haringey (43% decrease from the year ending mid-2010 to mid-2011), and Tower Hamlets (43% decrease from the year ending mid-2010 to mid-2011).

Map 2: Local authority level short-term immigrant worker estimates for stays of 3-12 months, as a percentage of their mid-2011 population, mid-2011

This shows that there is a high concentration of short-term migrant workers in London. Particular London local authorities that have a high concentration are City of London, Westminster, Newham, Haringey, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, and Brent. Other cities that have a high concentration of short-term workers are Boston, Peterborough and Cambridge.

Short-term migrant students

The distribution of short-term migrant students is not as concentrated in London as the workers, with only four of the top 10 local authorities being in London; however it is still focused on large urban areas. The table below shows the areas with the largest short-term student estimates in the year to mid-2011, for the years to mid-2008, mid-2009 and mid-2010.

With the exception of Newham and Newcastle upon Tyne, most areas have seen a small decrease in short-term immigration of students. This is in line with the slight (and not statistically significant) decrease at national level, from 69,000 for the year to mid-2010 to 64,000 for the year to mid-2011.

Camden has had the largest decrease, decreasing by 32% between the year to mid-2010 and the year to mid-2011.

Map 3: Local authority level short-term immigrant student estimates for stays of 3-12 months, as a percentage of their mid-2011 population, mid-2011

This shows that although there is a concentration in London boroughs there are also concentrations of students in most cities.

Those areas with the highest concentrations include Cambridge, Boston, South Bucks, City of London, Westminster, Newham and Oxford.

Boston has a surprisingly high concentration of students. All the students allocated to this area are EU domiciled and studying FE. It is thought that in this area agricultural workers may also undertake a part-time course such as an English language course and are thus counted in both further education administrative sources and the Migrant Worker Scan.

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11.Glossary

Confidence interval

The confidence interval is a range within which the true value of a population lies with known probability. For example, the 95 % confidence interval represents the range into which there are 19 chances out of 20 that the true figure would fall (had all migrants been surveyed). This is obtained as +/- 1.96 times the standard error.

Country of usual residence

The country in which a person has a place to live, where he or she normally spends the daily period of rest. Temporary travel abroad for purposes of recreation, holiday, visits to friends and relatives, business, medical treatment or religious pilgrimages does not change a person’s country of usual residence (UN based definition)

Estimate

An indication of the value of an unknown quantity based on observed data. The estimated number of migrants is calculated by weighting up the number of contacts collected by the IPS. Further information about the weightings used by the IPS can be obtained in this overview of International Passenger Survey (IPS) methodology.

European Economic Area

Countries of the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. In short-term entry clearance figures Switzerland is also counted in EEA figures.

IPS

International Passenger Survey – a sample survey of passengers arriving at, and departing from, United Kingdom air and sea ports and the Channel Tunnel.

Migration Statistics Improvement Programme (MSIP)

The Migration Statistics Improvement Programme (MSIP) at ONS worked to improve the quality of population and migration statistics., which aimed to make migration statistics as accurate as possible and relevant for user needs. Further information is available on the MSIP webpages.

PBS Tier 1

Points based visa system for highly skilled workers, such as scientists and entrepreneurs.

PBS Tier 2

Points based visa system for skilled workers with a job offer, such as teachers and nurses.

PBS Tier 4

Points based visa system for students.

PBS Tier 5

Points based visa system for temporary workers, such as musicians coming to play in a concert, and participants in the youth mobility scheme.

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13.Background notes

  1. 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
    • 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.

  2. A list of people with pre-release access (25.5 Kb Pdf) to this product is available

  3. Next publication May 2014

  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.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Sarah Crofts
migstatsunit@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1329 444097