Immigration Statistics October - December 2011 – Summary of key facts

Valid: 23 February to 24 May 2012

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Interpreting the figures

This release includes new data for the fourth quarter of 2011 and provisional annual data for 2011.

Topics covered are Work, Study, Family, Before entry, Admissions, Extensions, Settlement, Citizenship, Asylum, Removals and voluntary departures, Detention and the European Economic Area.

The trends reflect changes in levels of immigration, policy and legislative changes, including changes to the Immigration Rules, and world events, as well as the availability and allocation of resources within the UK Border Agency.

Key facts

Work, study and family:

Data on entry clearance visas and admissions of those who are subject to immigration control coming to the United Kingdom for study, work and family reasons show that: student immigration has seen a general increase since 2005, rising particularly rapidly in 2009; work-related immigration has fallen overall since 2006; and family immigration has shown a slow overall decrease since 2006. The latest visa data for 2011 indicate that numbers wishing to study have fallen since a peak in the year ending June 2010 and work visas have continued to fall after a slight increase to the year ending March 2011. Visas for family reasons also fell.

Before entry:

Excluding visitor and transit visas, 6% fewer visas were issued in 2011 (564,000) than in 2010 (597,000). However, there were a record 1.7 million visitor visas issued in 2011, 11% higher than a year earlier (1.5 million).

There were 9% fewer non-asylum passengers initially refused entry at ports in 2011 (17,173) compared with the previous year (18,941), maintaining the continuous year-on-year fall from 38,391 in 2004.


The total number of admissions rose by 4% to 105.9 million in 2011 compared with 2010 (101.5 million), comprising 3.7 million more journeys (+4%) by British, other EEA and Swiss nationals, and 0.7 million more journeys (+6%) by nationals subject to immigration control. The increase since 2010 is likely, in part, to reflect lower passenger arrivals during April 2010 because of airport closures due to a volcanic ash cloud.


There were 300,100 grants of an extension of stay in 2011, 3% lower than 2010 (309,500) and continuing the fall from 2009 (334,000) and 2008 (362,900). This fall can be more than accounted for by a 15% fall in extensions in the study category, which has been partially offset by an increase in grants in the work category.


The number of people granted settlement in 2011 fell by a third (-32%) to 163,477, compared with 2010 (241,192). This suggests a peak has been passed, following the completion of the asylum backlog case review which contributed to the previous rise, although this is still the fourth highest year on record behind 2010, 2009 and 2005. There were falls in the work (-17%), family (-27%) and other discretionary grant (-64%) categories compared to 2010.


There were 177,878 grants of British citizenship in 2011, 9% fewer than in the previous year (195,046), mainly due to 11,399 fewer grants based on marriage (-24%) and 6,606 fewer grants to children related to British citizens (-14%).


The fourth quarter of 2011 had the highest quarterly number of asylum applications (5,261) since the second quarter of 2009. Overall asylum applications were up 11% in 2011 (19,804) compared to 2010 (17,916), with each quarter in 2011 being higher than the one 12 months earlier. This was mainly due to an increase in applications from nationals of Pakistan, Libya and Iran. Asylum applications continue to be significantly lower than levels seen in the early 2000s.


During the fourth quarter of 2011, 6,861 people entered immigration detention. This was an 11% increase from the 6,161 in the fourth quarter of 2010. Of these 6,861, 41 were children, which compares with 34 in the fourth quarter of 2010, although the number of children entering detention has fallen considerably from the levels seen prior to December 2010. The majority of the 41 children entered the new pre-departure accommodation, which are specifically designed for children and their families. There were no children in detention as at 31 December 2011.

Removals and voluntary departures:

The number of people removed or departing voluntarily during 2011 was 52,526, down 13% from 60,244 during 2010. This fall can mostly be accounted for by low numbers forcibly removed or departing voluntarily in 2011 (down from 41,968 in 2010 to 36,970), particularly in the second and third quarters of 2011. Port removals in 2011 were also down on 2010. However, the fourth quarter of 2011 showed some signs of recovery on numbers forcibly removed or departing voluntarily, with levels similar to those seen in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Headline statistics – latest 12 months

The table shows the headline numbers for the latest available 12 months, and the percentage change compared with the previous 12 months.

Headline statistics – quarterly data

The table shows the headline numbers for the latest quarter, and the percentage change compared with the same quarter one year previous.

Table notes

(1) Excludes dependants.
(2) Includes dependants.
(3) The above data are compared using quarterly comparisons rather than rolling 12-month totals in line with established practice and reflecting that these data series are not identified as subject to seasonal variability.

Data tables

Further data are available in the immigration statistics tables.

What’s new

Provisional data for 2011 have been provided for a range of datasets. The ‘Index’ worksheet for each set of tables contains details of which tables have been updated in this release. These include Extensions Tables ex.01 and ex.02 which previously would not have been updated with annual data until August. Annual tables that have not been updated with 2011 data in this release, in particular those containing detailed data, will be updated in May, August or November 2012.

Within the Before Entry topic, figures for entry clearances visas issued in 2011 by nationality within published category are now available in a new set of tables, Tables be.06, be.06.w, be.06.s, be.06.f, be.06.d and be.06.o; subsequent tables on appeals on visa decisions and refusals of entry at port have been renumbered. In order that the existing tables be.01 to be.05 are consistent with the new tables, all figures for entry clearance visas have been revised based on the same data extract. Previous analysis has shown that differences between data extracted at quarterly time points are relatively small. There was a one per cent difference in the total number of visas issued for the year ending June 2011 when data taken from Q2 2011 (2,292,015) and Q3 2011 (2,291,724) were compared. These revisions mainly arise from late-entered data and data cleansing exercises. In addition, Tables be.01 and be.02 have been extended to provide data back to 2005, and Table be.07 has been reformatted in line with most other tables.

Within the Settlement topic, data for 2004 to 2006 have been added to Table se.03, to improve the time series available on numbers of grants of settlement by nationality and category. In addition, all tables are now consistently formatted, following the reformatting of Tables se.01, 02, 04, 05 and 06.

Within the Citizenship topic, data for 2002 to 2009 have been added to Table cz.05, giving for the first time a historic comparison of the demographics of citizenship grants by region. In addition, some age groupings have been split to provide more detail and improved comparison to other datasets.

Revisions to data

Within the Citizenship topic, there have been minor revisions of figures relating to grants of renunciation of British citizenship in 2002, 2003 and 2004 to include cases found to have been previously excluded due to their being recorded using an unexpected value within the administrative database. The increases are from 1,141 to 1,194 in 2002 (up 5%), from 684 to 755 in 2003 (up 10%) and from 675 to 680 in 2004 (up 1%). Data for 2005 onward were unaffected by this issue.

Within the Removals and voluntary departure topic, figures for foreign national offenders removed in Q1, Q2 and Q3 2011 are revised following an annual data cleansing exercise. Revised figures are up by 2% (25 cases), 11% (104 cases) and 4% (44 cases) respectively in each quarter compared to the last published quarterly figures.

Future changes

Specific future changes planned, subject to data quality and available resources, include:

  • within tables detailing nationalities, disaggregating the current ‘Stateless’ grouping into ‘Stateless’ and ‘Refugee’ on all time periods available following user requests; and
  • improving the data quality of the data on Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and age disputed cases to ensure that those whose age dispute case has been fully resolved are counted correctly.

In addition, improvements will be made in line with the requirements of the UK Statistics Authority (see details below) and further tables will be converted to the re-designed format.

National Statistics Assessment

In autumn 2011, the UK Statistics Authority assessed Immigration Statistics against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, as part of its routine programme of assessments. The assessment report was published on 2 February 2012, and, subject to meeting the report’s five requirements, this release will be re-designated by the Authority as National Statistics in due course. More information on National Statistics and the Code of Practice for Official Statistics can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website.

The UK Statistics Authority’s report commented that: the figures “are readily accessible, produced according to sound methods and managed impartially and objectively in the public interest”; and “help inform users such as the government, Parliament, the media and the wider public about immigration control activities, and support the development and monitoring of immigration policy”; and that “Many users commented that they found the new format in which the statistics are presented easier to use...”

The formal requirements of the assessment report broadly relate to improving and clarifying information about data sources, data quality and revisions to data, improving interpretability and clarifying the status of data that were previously labelled as management information. Home Office Statistics intend to make the improvements needed, including developing plans where appropriate, by the end of May 2012.

The Immigration Statistics release is a National Statistics output produced to the highest professional standards and free from political interference. It has been produced by statisticians working in the Home Office Statistics Unit in accordance with the Home Office’s ‘Statement of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics’ which covers our policy on revisions and other matters. The governance arrangements in the Home Office for statistics were strengthened on 1 April 2008 to place the statistical teams under the direct line management of a Chief Statistician, who reports to the National Statistician with respect to all professional statistical matters.

Further information and feedback

If you have any questions or comments about this release, please send an email to
or write to

The Editor, Immigration Statistics,
Migration Statistics,
Home Office Statistics,
2nd Floor Green Park House
29 Wellesley Road
Croydon CR0 2AJ

Press enquiries should be made to:

Home Office Press Office
Peel Building
2 Marsham Street
Tel: 020 7035 3535

The Home Office Responsible Statistician is David Blunt, Chief Statistician and Head of Profession for Statistics.


An email distribution list is available to allow communication between users and producers of migration statistics throughout the year.

Specifically, this is a forum for discussion of migration statistics that allows users to discuss their need for and use of the data and for producers to consult on presentation and changes. The main focus will be on figures for the United Kingdom, but this would not exclude discussion of migration statistics for other countries. Home Office Statistics intends to use this list for communication with users, including data and release developments.

If you wish to join, please go to and follow the instructions.

A one-day migration statistics user event is provisionally planned for 18 September 2012. Details will be made available via the email distribution list.

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Date: Thu Feb 23 09:30:00 GMT 2012

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