The Office for National Statistics Reports on the fall of net UK migration

September 3, 2013

Last week, the Office for National Statistics released the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report. The data shows that net migration has increased in the year ending December 2012 compared to the year ending September 2012. There were reportedly 176,000 Long Term migrants coming to the UK in the year ending December 2012, compared to at the end of September 2012, when it stood at 153,000.  

In spite of this, there has actually been a fall in overall net migration in the year ending December 2012 estimated to be at 215,000 compared to the previous year ending December 2011. Admittedly though, this is not a significant fall and a long way from the government”s plans to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, rather than the hundreds of thousands.

The ONS puts this fall in net migration down to the fact that in the year ending December 2012, 497,000 people immigrated to the UK, a significant decline from the 566,000 who immigrated in the previous year. This decline has undoubtedly been influenced by the government”s current policies which include limiting economic migration from outside the EU by capping the number of skilled workers employers can bring into the UK and removing the Tier 1 General category for highly skilled workers. Reforms to the family rules which have introduced an earning threshold of £18,600 for anyone wanting to bring in a spouse or partner to the UK from outside of the EU have also contributed.  

Interestingly, the numbers of people emigrating from the UK has also declined, with statistics indicating that 321,000 people left the UK in the year ending December 2012, compared to the 351,000 who left the previous year. In particular, only 181,000 people migrated away from the UK for work related reasons at the end of December 2012, compared to 201,000 in the previous year.

There has also been a reported decrease in the number of sponsored study visas being issued with a fall of 2% in the year ending June 2013. This is arguably due to the government”s stricter rules on the English Language requirement for students, the withdrawal of the right of many colleges to sponsor overseas students and perhaps also the negative press that has recently surrounded incidents such as the London Met University losing it”s sponsor licence. 

It remains to be seen how the numbers are affected in the remaining quarter of 2013 and in the run up to the General Election next year.

If you have any questions about the increasingly strict UK immigration regulations, please contact us to discuss further.