Immigration in Numbers:
3.3 million visas granted

The Home Office has published its latest official migration statistics for the year ending June 2023.

The latest release provides the most up to date estimates on the number of people coming to the UK or extending their stay, gaining citizenship, applying for asylum and being detained or removed from the UK, as well as immigration for work, study or family reasons.

There were 3,287,404 visas granted in the year ending June 2023, 58% higher than the year ending June 2022. This was primarily due to a 98% increase in the number of visit visas granted, but also due to more grants for work visas (+63%) and study visas (+34%).

Of the almost 3.3 million visas granted during this period:

  • 55% were to visitors.
  • 20% were for students (including dependants).
  • 16% were in work routes (including dependants).
  • 3% were for family visas and permits.
  • 5% were for other reasons (including grants of leave on the Ukraine Schemes and the British National (Overseas) route).

The figures come after a series of announcements made by the government this summer on changes to the Immigration Rules which may impact future visa applicants. These include changes to the Student route, upcoming increases to immigration fees, higher civil penalties for employers and landlords, and changes to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

Significant changes such as these are likely to impact the number of people applying for visas in the future. The government is also taking steps to reduce overall net migration figures which hit a record high last year, and to clamp down on illegal working.

It should be noted that these latest statistics have been impacted by a series of events including the war in Ukraine, increased travel as the UK continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and key changes to work visas. We delve a little deeper into the latest figures below.

Work visas

In the year ending June 2023, there were 321,101 work visas granted to main applicants, 45% higher than in the year ending June 2022 and almost two and a half times (+144%) the number in the year ending June 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Skilled Worker’ visa grants have increased by 34% (+17,610) in the past year to 69,421. ‘Skilled Worker – Health and Care’ visa grants have increased over two and a half times (+157% or +74,096) to 121,290 compared with the previous year.

The latest increase is in part due to the expansion in late 2021 for ‘Care Workers and Home Carers’ and ‘Senior Care Workers’. In the year ending June 2023, ‘Care Workers and Home Carers’ comprised around 50% of visas granted under the ‘Health and Care’ visa category. Indian nationals were the highest nationality granted on both these routes.

Dependants accounted for around 218,000 visas granted, representing 40% of all work visas.

Study visas

For the year ending June 2023, there were 498,626 sponsored study visas granted to main applicants, 23% more than in the year ending June 2022 and double (+108%) the year ending June 2019, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost a quarter (24%) of all sponsored study related visas granted were to dependants of students (154,063), compared to 17% (80,846) in the year ending June 2022.

Indian nationals accounted for almost one-third of all sponsored study grants to main applicants – the highest of all nationalities, with 142,848 grants recorded. Chinese nationals were the second most common nationality granted sponsored study visas, with 107,670 visas granted.

Family visas

Family-related visas relate to persons wishing to live with a family member as designated within the immigration rules. They include people coming to join British citizens, for example to marry, as well as those coming to join other settled migrants in the UK as part of their family. They also include those granted a visa under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) family permit.

Family related visas granted during this period have more than doubled (up 110%) compared to the previous year. This jump is primarily driven by an increase in family related visas granted to partners. The increase is likely to reflect the greater opportunities to travel now that the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted, and clearing a backlog of applications.

There were a total of 75,717 family related visas granted in the year ending June 2023, with 80% of these going to partners. The remainder were granted to children or other dependants.

Visit visas

There were 1,815,342 visitor visas granted in the year ending June 2023, around 2 times higher (+96%) than the year ending June 2022. Like applications, grants have continued to increase in the aftermath of the pandemic but are still below the peak in the year ending December 2019 (2,413,461).

During this period, Indian nationals accounted for the highest proportion (30%) of visitor visas granted, followed by Chinese nationals (13%), Nigerian nationals (6%) and Turkish nationals (6%).

Extensions, settlement and citizenship

There were 669,061 grants of extension in the UK (including both main applicants and dependants) in the year ending June 2023, 52% more than in the year ending June 2022. Over four-fifths of the increase in extensions in the latest year (81% of 229,934) were for work.

There were 116,997 grants of settlement in the year ending June 2023, 3% lower than in the previous year.

There were 180,218 grants of British citizenship in the year ending June 2023, 7% fewer than in the year ending June 2022. Of these, 41,349 grants were to EU nationals (down 31%) and 138,869 grants were to non-EU nationals (up 5%).

Sponsor licencing for work and study

At the end of June 2023, there were around 69,500 organisations and institutions registered as licensed sponsors for work and study.

Home Office management information indicates that there were 32,893 decisions made on applications for sponsor licences in the year ending June 2023, compared to 20,869 in the previous year. Of the total decisions, 25,440 licences were granted (70% higher than the year before) and 7,453 were not granted (including both applications withdrawn and those rejected).

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