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Latest ONS figures reveal work as main reason for immigration

The Office of National Statistics has released their immigration statistics for the Year Ending (YE) June 2016.

Key Statistics.

  • Net migration stood at +335,000.
  • 284,000 EU citizens migrated to the UK, up from 265,000 YE June 2015.
  • 289,000 non-EU citizens migrated to the UK.

Reasons for Immigration.

Work and employment accounted for the vast majority of immigration.

  • 311,000 individuals (48% of migrants) stated that their main reason for moving to the UK was work related.
  • 182,000 of these arrived with definite job offers.
  • 130,000 arrived looking for work, up significantly from 107,000 from the previous year.

In addition, the employed UK labour force increased by 454,000, 49% of which can be attributed to migrants from EU countries and 4% from non-EU countries.

In contrast, the amount of immigration for study related purposes has significantly dropped. In relation to grants for study in the UK, there has been a reduction from 193,000 in June 2015 to 163,000 this year, the lowest rate since 2007. In particular, the number of EU citizens went down from 47,000 to 34,000. Sponsored visa applications to study also fell by to 200,653, a decrease of 2% since the previous year.

Last Country of Residence.

For the first time, the most common last country of residence was Romania, accounting for 10% of all migrants. The number of migrants from the top four countries were:

  1. Romania: 54,000
  2. China: 44,000
  3. Poland: 38,000
  4. India: 36,000

Asylum Applications.

Applications for asylum also rose for the sixth successive year in a row. Between June 2015 and June 2016, 41,280 applications for asylum were made. It is worth noting however that asylum applications are still much lower than their peak level in 2002 by almost a half.

In addition, 4,162 individuals were granted humanitarian protection under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

What does this tell us?

It is difficult to extrapolate from these statistics. It only includes one week of data post the 23rd June Brexit vote, which is likely to heavily affect migration from EU countries. Furthermore, many of the increases and decreases are significantly negligible. To quote Nicola White, Head of International Migration Statistics:

“Net migration remains around record levels, but it is stable compared with recent years. Immigration levels are now among the highest estimates recorded – the inflow of EU citizens is also at historically high levels and similar to the inflow of non-EU citizens; there were also increases in the number of asylum seekers and refugees…The main reason people are coming to the UK is for work, and there has been a significant increase in people looking for work particularly from the EU.

These long-term international migration figures run to the end of June, so it is too early to say what effect, if any, the EU Referendum has had on long-term international migration. There does not however appear to have been any significant impact during the run-up to the vote.”

Two key facts however stand out:

  • The amount of students coming to the UK to study has reduced significantly, in particular those coming from the UK, a trend which looks likely to continue.
  • The amount of migrants coming to the UK looking for work, rather than with firm job offers, has increased markedly.

Contact our Immigration Barristers in London.

For more information about Student or Work Visas for the UK, contact our experienced immigration barristers in Covent Garden, London on 0203 617 9173 or via our online enquiry form.


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