Skip to content

Net migration to the UK was estimated to be 336,000 in the year ending June 2015

Our provisional estimates of Long-Term International Migration for the year ending June 2015

What is a long-term international migrant?

A long-term international migrant is defined as someone who moves to a country other than that of his or her usual residence for a period of at least a year, so that the country of destination becomes his or her new country of usual residence. From the perspective of the country of departure, the person will be a long-term emigrant and from the perspective of the country of arrival, the person will be a long-term immigrant.

What is net migration?

Net migration is the difference between people moving into the UK (immigration) and people moving out of the UK (emigration). If net migration is positive then it means that more people have moved to live in the UK than have left to live elsewhere.

The latest headline figures

Our latest provisional estimates of Long Term International Migration (LTIM) show that net migration stood at 336,000 in the year ending June 2015. This is up from 254,000 in the year ending June 2014. This is a statistically significant increase1.

636,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending June 2015, a statistically significant increase compared with 574,000 in the previous year. Emigration was stable with 300,000 people leaving the UK in the year ending June 2015 compared with 320,000 in the previous year.

Figure 1: Total Long-Term International Migration estimates, UK, 2005 to 2015

Figure 1: Total Long-Term International Migration estimates, UK, 2005 to 2015
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Figures for years ending 2015 are provisional. In this chart provisional estimates are represented by a cross.
  2. Net migration estimates up to 2011 have been revised in light of the 2011 Census. Immigration and emigration estimates have not been revised and are therefore not consistent with the revised net migration estimates. The revised estimates are only available for the years ending June and December each year.

Download chart

Figure 1 shows rolling annual estimates from the year ending June 2005 onwards. Figures for the years ending March and June 2015 are provisional. All other figures are final estimates of LTIM.

Who is migrating to the UK?

Figure 2: Immigration into the UK for the year ending June 2015

Figure 2: Immigration into the UK for the year ending June 2015
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Net migration of EU citizens has increased

Immigration of EU citizens (excluding British citizens) to the UK in the year ending June 2015 was 265,000, a statistically significant increase from 223,000 the previous year. The recent increase in EU immigration has partly been driven by EU2 (Bulgaria and Romania) citizens. Net migration of EU citizens (excluding British citizens) also showed a statistically significant increase to 180,000 in the year ending June 2015, from 138,000 the previous year.

Net migration of non-EU citizens has increased

The latest estimates of immigration of non-EU citizens show 286,000 non-EU citizens immigrating to the UK in the year ending June 2015, an increase (although not statistically significant) from 269,000 in the previous year. Net migration of non-EU citizens also showed a statistically significant increase to 201,000 in the year ending June 2015, from 165,000 in the previous year.

Why are people immigrating to the UK?

The most common reason for migrating to the UK is work. This has been the case historically, with the exception of 2009 to 2012, when formal study was the most common main reason for migration.

In the year ending June 2015, a total of 294,000 immigrated for work-related reasons. This is a statistically significant increase from the previous year when 241,000 people immigrated for work-related reasons. Of those immigrating for work-related reasons in the year ending June 2015, 64% (187,000) came with a definite job to go to and 36% (107,000) came to look for work.

There were increases in immigration for work among EU citizens and non-EU citizens. Provisional estimates from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show that 58% (162,000) were EU citizens (excluding British citizens), which was not a statistically significant increase and 24% (67,000) were non-EU citizens, also not a statistically significant increase from the previous year. The majority of other sources2 also show that immigration for work has increased over the last year for both EU and non-EU citizens.

The second most common reason for immigrating to the UK was formal study. In the year ending June 2015, a total of 192,000 people immigrated to the UK for formal study. Provisional estimates from the IPS show that the majority (131,000 or 71%) were non-EU citizens while 47,000 (24%) were EU citizens (excluding British citizens).

In the year ending June 2015, a total of 80,000 people arrived in the UK to accompany or join others, this remains relatively unchanged from 82,000 the previous year. Provisional estimates from the IPS show that the majority (45,000 or 58%) were non-EU citizens while 23,000 (30%) were EU citizens (excluding British citizens).

Figure 3: Reasons for immigrating into the UK, 2005 to 2015

Figure 3: Reasons for immigrating into the UK, 2005 to 2015
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Figures for the years ending March and June 2015 are provisional rolling quarterly estimates. All other figures are final estimates of LTIM.

Where can I get more information about migration?

These statistics were analysed by our Migration Statistics Unit. LTIM estimates are based largely on data from the IPS, carried out by us. If you would like to find out more about the latest international migration statistics, you can read the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (November 2015) or visit our international migration page. If you have any comments or suggestions, we would like to hear them. Please email us at: migstatsunit@ons.gov.uk

Background Notes

  1. A change between 2 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 (453.1 Kb Pdf) .

  2. “Other sources” include our labour market data, visa data from the Home Office, and National Insurance number allocations from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Categories: Population, Migration, International Migration, Long-term Migrants
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.