This month’s reporting of net migration figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicate a significant drop in numbers. Net long-term international migration was estimated to be +248,000 in 2016, down 84,000 from 2015 (statistically significant); immigration was estimated to be 588,000 and emigration 339,000.
This net migration change was driven by a statistically significant increase in emigration up 40,000 from 2015, mainly EU citizens (117,000, up 31,000 from 2015) and a decrease of 43,000 in immigration (not statistically significant).
EU8 citizens have partly driven the changes with a fall in immigration (down 25,000) to 48,000 and a rise in emigration (up 16,000) to 43,000 in 2016 (both statistically significant changes); this resulted in the smallest net migration estimate (+5,000) for the EU8 since joining the EU in 2004.
Work remains the most common reason for international migration with 275,000 people immigrating to work in 2016 (down 33,000 from 2015 (not statistically significant)); the majority (180,000) had a definite job (similar to 2015) but fewer people immigrated looking for work (95,000, a statistically significant decrease of 35,000 from 2015).
Long-term immigration to study (136,000 in 2016) saw a statistically significant decrease of 32,000 from 2015. The numbers of visas issued over the same period to non-EU students for 12 months or more was 141,248, a rise of 3%.
In 2016 more people were emigrating with a definite job (116,000) than in 2015 (up 17,000, statistically significant); the estimated number of non-British citizens going home to live increased from 29,000 to 52,000 in 2016, this was largely driven by EU citizens, an increase of 21,000 to 43,000, of who around half were EU8 citizens (all statistically significant increases).
A total of 9,634 people were granted asylum or an alternative form of protection in year ending (YE) March 2017, a grant rate of 32%. In addition, 5,453 people were granted humanitarian protection under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme in YE March 2017.