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Net migration falls significantly

Released: 29 November 2012 Download PDF

Latest provisional figures for the year ending March 2012 show that net migration has fallen significantly to 183,000 from 242,000 the previous year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announces today.

Inward migration to the UK stood at 536,000 people in the year ending March 2012, which is lower than the 578,000 who immigrated the previous year and the lowest immigration figure since 2004. 

353,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year ending March 2012, which is higher than the 336,000 who emigrated the previous year.

The fall in net migration has been caused by fewer immigrants and higher numbers of emigrants who have British or non-EU citizenship. Estimated numbers of non-EU immigrants to the UK fell to 296,000 from 317,000 the previous year. 73,000 immigrants were British, compared with 92,000 the previous year.

This reduction in immigration was largely due to fewer people arriving to study, although study continues to be the most common reason stated for immigration to the UK. Despite this reduction, final figures for 2011 show that there have been significant increases in immigrants from China and Pakistan who arrive to the UK to study. China became the second most common country of last residence for all immigrants to the UK (India remains as the most common country of last residence).

The increase in emigration is largely due to higher numbers leaving the UK for a definite job. 127,000 people emigrated for a definite job in the year ending March 2012, which is significantly higher than 108,000 people who emigrated for a definite job the previous year. Approximately half of those emigrating for a definite job are British.

Migration Statistics Quarterly Report

These data are available in more detail in the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report. This product is released jointly by ONS, the Home Office and DWP. It provides the latest available migration and related data, including final estimates of Long Term International Migration for 2011 (released provisionally in August 2012) and provisional statistics giving an indication of recent changes in international migration up to March 2012. It also includes immigration statistics from the Home Office.

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Background notes

  1. The latest long-term international migration estimates are available at

    The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report is available at

    LTIM is the most comprehensive estimate of long-term migration. There is no single, all-inclusive system in place to measure movements of population into or out of the UK, so Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates are produced using a combination of data from different sources. None of the data sources used, while offering the best data currently available, are specifically designed to capture information solely on international migration. Further information on the LTIM methodology can be found at

    The Home Office statistics relate to people who are subject to immigration control under Immigration Acts (that is, to people who do not have the right of abode in the UK). They are produced mainly as a by-product of the process of immigration control. British citizens, those Commonwealth citizens who also have the right of abode, other European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and Swiss nationals are not subject to immigration control and may freely enter and leave the UK. The UK Border Agency (UKBA), which is responsible for immigration control, regulates the entry and refusal of entry of passengers into the UK, the conditions of stay in the UK and the variation of such conditions following entry. It also regulates settlement and the deportation or removal of people. It is not possible for UKBA to provide information on how many people have left the country as they do not count everyone into and out of the UK. Immigration statistics published by the Home Office are available at

  2. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
    © Crown copyright 2012.

  3. Next publication: The next migration annual release will be 28 November 2013

                                  The next Migration Statistics Quarterly Report will be 28 February 2013

    Issued by:           Office for National Statistics, Government Buildings, Cardiff Road, Newport NP10 8XG

  4. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.