May 31, 2017
We present the headlines from the latest UK migration figures published by the Office for National Statistics. All figures shown here are long-term* estimates for the year ending (YE) December 2016 and are compared to the same period in 2015 unless otherwise stated.
A net total of 248,000 people are estimated to have immigrated to the UK in 2016, which is a drop of 84,000 from the previous year. The decrease was driven by more EU citizens leaving the UK and fewer EU citizens coming to the UK. Immigration was estimated to be 588,000 whilst emigration was understood to be 339,000.
Around 339,000 people emigrated from the UK. This is 40,000 more than during the previous year and was largely driven by a 36% increase in the number of EU citizens leaving the country.
275,000 people immigrated to the UK for work purposes, making it the most popular reason for immigration in 2016. Of this number, 61% were EU nationals, 25% non-EU nationals and 14% British nationals. India and US nationals made up the majority of non-EU arrivals whilst top employment sectors for visa nationals were IT, science, technology and finance.
32,000 fewer people came to the UK for study purposes (136,000). Study remains the second most popular reason to come to the UK, however, with the highest number of study visas being awarded those from China (37%), the US (7%), India (6%), Hong Kong (4%) and Saudi Arabia (4%).
A total of 247,000 EU nationals migrated to the UK, with EU15, EU8 and EU2 immigration estimated to be 132,000, 48,000 and 67,000 respectively. EU8 nationals made for the lowest immigration estimate (34% down from 2015) since their countries joined the EU in 2004.
Immigration to the UK of non-EU citizens was estimated to be 264,000, down 5% from the previous year, with 66,000 of these coming for work-related.
The third most common reason for migrating to the UK is to accompany or join others. Of all long-term immigrants in 2016, 85,000 (14%) arrived in the UK for this reason – the highest figure since 2014.
57,111 people were granted permission to stay permanently in the UK during the YE March 2017 – this is 28% fewer than the previous year and attributed to falls in work grants (-17,634) and changes to the Immigration Rules.
There are currently 29,337 registered employers of Tier 2 and 5 migrants. This is 8% fewer than this time last year and may be the result of rising immigration costs.
*Long-term migration is classed as any stay in the UK which is longer than 12 months
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