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Net migration to the UK was 330,000 in the year ending March 2015, according to the latest provisional estimates

Our estimates of Long-Term International Migration for the year ending March 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 effectively 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.

What are the latest headline figures?

The latest provisional estimates of Long Term International Migration (LTIM) show that net migration stood at 330,000 in the year ending March 2015. This is up from 236,000 in the year ending March 2014. This is a statistically significant increase1

636,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending March 2015, a statistically significant increase compared with 552,000 in the previous year. Emigration was stable with 307,000 people leaving the UK in the year ending March 2015 compared with 316,000 in the previous year.

Figure 1: Total Long-Term International Migration estimates

United Kingdom, 2005 to 2015

Figure 1: Total Long-Term International Migration estimates
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Click on image to view an enlarged version.

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The above chart shows rolling annual estimates from the year ending June 2005 onwards. Figures for the years ending March, June, September and December 2014, and March 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 March 2015

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

Notes:

  1. Click on image to view an enlarged version.

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Net migration of EU citizens has increased

Immigration of EU citizens (excluding British citizens) to the UK in the year ending March 2015 was 269,000, a statistically significant increase from 213,000 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 183,000 in the year ending March 2015, from 130,000 the previous year.

Net migration of non-EU citizens has increased

The latest estimates of immigration of non-EU citizens show 284,000 non-EU citizens immigrating to the UK in the year ending March 2015, an increase (albeit not statistically significant) from 261,000 in the previous year. Net migration of non-EU citizens also showed a statistically significant increase to 196,000 in the year ending March 2015, from 157,000 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 March 2015, a total of 290,000 immigrated for work-related reasons. This is a statistically significant increase from the previous year when 225,000 people immigrated for work-related reasons. Of those immigrating for work-related reasons in the year ending March 2015, 63% (183,000) came with a definite job to go to and 37% (107,000) came to look for work. 

There were statistically significant increases in immigration for work among EU citizens and non-EU citizens. Provisional estimates from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show that 59% (162,000) of those immigrating for work-related reasons were EU citizens (excluding British citizens) which was a statistically significant increase from 134,000 the previous year. 23% (64,000) were non-EU citizens, which was a statistically significant increase from 48,000 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 March 2015, a total of 188,000 people immigrated to the UK for formal study. Provisional estimates from the IPS show that the majority (137,000 or 72%) were non-EU citizens while 46,000 (24%) were EU citizens (excluding British citizens). 

In the year ending March 2015, a total of 83,000 people arrived in the UK to accompany/join others, stable from 80,000 the previous year. Provisional estimates from the IPS show that the majority (46,000 or 58%) were non-EU citizens while 24,000 (30%) were EU citizens (excluding British citizens).

Figure 3: Long-Term International Migration estimates of immigration to the UK

by main reason for migration, 2005 to 2015

Figure 3: Long-Term International Migration estimates of immigration to the UK
Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Click on image to view an enlarged version.

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Figures for the years ending March, June, September and December 2014, and March 2015 are provisional rolling quarterly estimates.

Where can I get more information about migration?

These statistics were analysed by the Migration Statistics Unit at ONS. Long-Term International Migration estimates are based largely on data from the International Passenger Survey (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 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.

  2. ‘Other sources’ includes labour market data from ONS, visa data from the Home Office, and National Insurance number allocations from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Categories: Population, Migration, International Migration
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