Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) disclosed that net migration – the difference between the number of people emigrating and the number of immigrants arriving in the UK was 182,000 in year ending June 2013. This is up from 167,000 in the previous 12 months. It seems that the increase was driven by a drop in the number of migrants leaving Britain as emigration fell to its lowest level since 2001.The figures will come as a blow for the current coalition government who have been trying to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands”.
Rise in Net Migration: What the Figures Show
The ONS’ official statistics reveal that:
- 503,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending June 2013, compared to the 517,000 who immigrated during the previous year;
- Emigration is at its lowest level since 2001. In the year ending June 2013, 320,000 emigrants left the UK which is lower than the 349,000 people who emigrated during the previous year. The fall in emigration is driving an increase in net migration;
- Immigration of non-EU citizens saw a statistically significant decrease to 242,000 in the year ending June 2013 from 282,000 the previous year;
- 202,000 people arrived for work in the year ending June 2013, now once again the most common reason for immigration, overtaking formal study for the first time since 2009; and
- 176,000 people arrived for study.
Most Immigrants to UK come from China to Live & Work
ONS’ figures have revealed that 1.9 million visitor visas were issued in the year ending September 2013, 15% more (+256,367) than the previous year. Statistics show that increases were seen in visitor visas issued to Chinese (+80,755), Russian (+37,405), Kuwaiti (+23,507), Indian (+20,749) and Saudi Arabian (+18,030) nationals.
The rise in the number of Chinese migrants to the UK is due to an increase in the number of students coming from China to study in the UK. This is a sharp contrast to the number of Indian students coming to the UK. This is despite David Cameron visiting India twice in the last 12 months with the intention of encouraging students that his government was not trying to restrict their access to the UK.
Increase of Immigration from European Union (EU)
Statistics show that 183,000 EU citizens immigrated in the year ending June 2013, not a statistically significant change from the estimate of 158,000 for the previous year. Interestingly, there was a “statistically significant” increase in citizens arriving for work-related reasons from the so-called EU15, which includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
These figures follow the news that Prime Minister David Cameron wants to make it harder for EU migrants to access the UK’s welfare system and tackle “benefit tourism” in Britain. The Prime Minister has expressed that he wants to change the law so that new EU migrants would have to wait three months before they could access unemployment benefits.