ONS COVID-19 Briefing: Migration
Briefing date: 01 June 2020
Data published: 21 May 2020
A summary of the latest official short-term international migration statistics for England and Wales for the year ending June 2018 published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The data collection period was completed by August 2019 and is unaffected by the recent developments with the COVID-19.
This is the latest briefing on the Healthy Suffolk website, but the ONS may have published further updates. You can find historical information on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website.
- Visits abroad for 1 to 12 months decreased from 3.1 million in the year ending June 2017 to 2.7 million in the year ending June 2018; this is attributable to a decrease in residents of England and Wales visiting friends or relatives
- There were 1.1 million visits to England and Wales for 1 to 12 months; this was like levels seen in previous years, and visiting friends or relatives continued to be the main reason for a visit
- The number of European Union (EU) citizens coming to visit for 1 to 12 months decreased from 500,000 in the year ending June 2017 to 393,000 in the year ending June 2018; this is attributable to a decrease in EU15 citizens coming to visit
- The number of visits abroad for 1 to 12 months by non-EU residents decreased from 523,000 in the year ending June 2017 to 402,000 in the year ending June 2018; this is largely attributable to a decrease in non-EU citizens visiting friends or relatives
- The number of visits abroad and visits for 3 to 12 months was broadly stable; most visits abroad can be attributed to holidays or visiting friends or relatives, whereas most visits to England and Wales can be attributed to study
- Visits to England and Wales and visits abroad under the UN definition remained broadly stable, and study continued to be the main reason why people visited England and Wales
National (Released: 21 May 2020)
A summary of the latest official long-term international migration statistics for the UK for the year ending December 2019. Data from the Home Office, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) are also included.
International migration statistics cover different time periods. The latest ONS estimates of long-term international migration based on the International Passenger Survey (IPS) relate to the year ending December 2019. These estimates are therefore unlikely to have been impacted by COVID-19. However, the latest Home Office immigration statistics and DWP data on National Insurance number allocations both relate to the period up to the end of March 2020 and therefore have been impacted by the pandemic in some areas.
- By the end of Dec 19, long term international migration continued to add to the UK population
- An estimated 270,000 more people moved to the UK with an intention to stay for 12 months or more than left the UK (net migration)
- Over the year, 677,000 people moved to the UK (immigration) and 407,000 people left the UK (emigration)
- Long-term net migration, immigration and emigration have remained broadly stable since the end of 2016
- Since 2016, there has been a decrease in immigration for work, but recently levels have remained broadly stable. Over the same period, immigration for study has been gradually increasing
EU net migration
- EU net migration has fallen since 2016, although more EU citizens still arrive long-term than leave. The change over this period has mostly been driven by a decrease in those coming to the UK as well as a gradual increase in the number of EU citizens leaving the UK.
- The number of EU citizens coming to the UK for work-related reasons has decreased to the lowest level since 2004, driving the overall fall in immigration for work since 2016. While the decrease was initially a result of fewer EU citizens coming to the UK looking for work, since 2018 there has also been a fall in the number of people arriving with a definite job.
Non-EU net migration
- Non-EU net migration has gradually increased since 2013 and is now at the highest level since information by citizenship was first collected in 1975. This change has been driven by an increase in the number of non-EU citizens coming to the UK, which is also at the highest level we have seen; the number leaving the UK has remained broadly stable.
- Since 2013, all available data sources have shown gradual increases in the number of non-EU citizens coming to the UK for work-related reasons. From 2016, the increase has mainly been a result of a gradual rise in the number of non-EU citizens coming to the UK for formal study, driven by students from China and India; this is a trend reflected in all available data sources with sponsored study visa applications for universities at the highest level since records began in June 2011.
Asylum, humanitarian protection, alternative forms of leave and resettlement
- The UK offered protection – in the form of asylum, humanitarian protection, alternative forms of leave and resettlement – to 20,339 people in year ending March 2020, 17% higher than the previous year. This included 4,968 people provided protection under resettlement schemes, mainly Syrian nationals.
EU and non-EU nationals working in the UK labour market
- For the period October to December 2019, the latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show that there were an estimated 2.34 million EU nationals working in the UK and an estimated 1.36 million non-EU nationals working in the UK.
- Since 2009 the number of EU nationals working in the UK has generally increased but has been broadly flat since the latter half of 2016.
- The number of non-EU nationals working in the UK remained broadly stable up until early 2019 but has increased slightly since.
Insights on recent international travel patterns
- In 2020, international travel restrictions across multiple countries have been enforced because of the spread of the COVID-19. In the first quarter of this year (January to March 2020), there were an estimated 23.7 million passenger arrivals (including returning UK residents). This is an 18% (5.4 million) decrease compared with the same period in 2019, with significant falls towards the end of the quarter.
- the number of applications for visitor visas in the first quarter of 2020 was 26% lower (-145,098) than in the same period in 2019.