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Net migration to the UK was 318,000 in the year ending December 2014, according to the latest provisional estimates

ONS estimates of Long-Term International Migration for the year ending December 2014

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 ONS provisional estimates of Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) show that net migration stood at 318,000 in the year ending December 2014. This is up from 209,000 in the year ending December 2013. This is a statistically significant increase1.

641,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending December 2014, a statistically significant increase compared with 526,000 in the previous year. Emigration was stable with 323,000 people leaving the UK in the year ending December 2014 compared with 317,000 in the previous year.

Total Long-Term International Migration estimates, UK, 2005 to 2014

Total Long-Term International Migration estimates, UK, 2005 to 2014
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 are provisional. All other figures are final estimates of LTIM.

Source: Office for National Statistics – Long-Term International Migration.

Who is migrating to the UK?

Immigration into the UK for the year ending December 2014

Immigration into the UK for the year ending December 2014

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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 December 2014 was 268,000, a statistically significant increase from 201,000 the previous year. The recent increase in EU immigration has been driven by EU15 citizens (excluding British) and EU2 (Bulgarian and Romanian) citizens. Net migration of EU citizens (excluding British citizens) also showed a statistically significant increase to 178,000 in the year ending December 2014, from 123,000 the previous year.

Net migration of non-EU citizens has increased

The latest estimates of immigration of non-EU citizens show 290,000 non-EU citizens immigrating to the UK in the year ending December 2014, a statistically significant increase from 248,000 in the previous year. Net migration of non-EU citizens also showed a statistically significant increase to 197,000 in the year ending December 2014, from 143,000 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 December 2014, a total of 284,000 immigrated for work-related reasons. This is a statistically significant increase from the previous year when 214,000 people immigrated for work-related reasons. Of those immigrating for work-related reasons in the year ending December 2014, 63% (178,000) came with a definite job to go to and 37% (106,000) came to look for work.

There were statistically significant increases in immigration for work amongst EU citizens and non-EU citizens. Provisional estimates from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show that 58% (159,000) of those immigrating for work-related reasons were EU citizens (excluding British citizens) which was a statistically significant increase from 125,000 the previous year. 25% (68,000) were non-EU citizens, which was a statistically significant increase from 44,000 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 December 2014, a total of 193,000 people immigrated to the UK for formal study. Provisional estimates from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show that the majority (135,000 or 72%) were non-EU citizens while 48,000 (26%) were EU citizens (excluding British citizens).

In the year ending December 2014, a total of 91,000 people arrived in the UK to accompany/join others. This was a statistically significant increase from 71,000 the previous year. Provisional estimates from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show that the majority (52,000 or 59%) were non-EU citizens while 25,000 (28%) were EU citizens (excluding British citizens).

Reasons for immigrating into the UK, 2005 to 2014

Reasons for immigrating into the UK, 2005 to 2014
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 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, carried out by ONS. 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

Related Links

Migration Statistics Quarterly Report –May 2015

Background Notes

1. A change between two 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’ 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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