Immigration missing government target

Citizens from non-EU countries continue to be the largest group of migrants to the country.

New Statesman
The headquarters of Britain's Immigration and Nationality Directorate in Croydon. Photograph: Getty Images.

Estimated total long-term immigration to the UK in the year to September 2011 was 589,000, compared to 600,000 for the same period in 2010 and mostly remains similar to that seen since 2004, according to the migration statistics quarterly report (MSQR) released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today. The lack of reduction means that the government is no closer to meeting its target of reducing net migration to less than 100,000 per year.

The UN definition of a long-term international migrant is someone who moves from their country of previous residence for a period of at least a year.

Estimated net long-term migration to the UK in the year to September 2011 was 252,000, which is the same as the final estimate of 252,000 in 2010. Net migration has remained broadly at similar levels since the year to September 2010, was estimated at 255,000.

As per the report, formal study is the first reason for migrating to the UK, while work remains the second reason.

Speaking on the release, Sarah Mulley of IPPR said:

The Government has so far made no progress towards meeting its target of reducing net migration to less than 100,000. It has also found that it is very difficult to reduce immigration to the UK without imposing significant costs on the economy. Recent changes to the student visa regime will deprive the UK education sector and wider economy of much needed income, but will have only limited impacts on long-term net migration because the vast majority of foreign students only remain in the UK temporarily. The Government should exclude students from migration figures and count them only if they stay in the UK for the long term.

An estimated 165,000 citizens from the EU (excluding British) migrated to the UK in the year to September 2011, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 182,000 in the year to September 2010. The estimated number of EU citizens (excluding British) emigrating from the UK was 91,000 in the year to September 2011, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 101,000 who emigrated in the year to September 2010.

Citizens from non-EU countries continue to be the largest group of migrants to the UK compared to British and the rest of the EU. An estimated 343,000 non-EU citizens arrived to live in the UK in the year to September 2011, which is 58 per cent of all immigrants. This is slightly higher than the estimate of 326,000 who arrived in the year to September 2010.

The estimated number of non-EU citizens emigrating from the UK in the year to September 2011 was 105,000, similar to the estimate of 108,000 in the year to September 2010.

In the year to March 2012 the overall number of entry clearance visas issued for work and study was 439,855, a decrease of 13 per cent (507,939) compared to same period last year.

A total of 148,498 work-related visas were issued in the year to March 2012, a decrease of 8 per cent (161,775) compared to same period last year. The number of visas issued for the purposes of study was 291,357 in the year to March 2012, a fall of 16 per cent (346,164) compared to same period last year

Some 671,000 national insurance numbers were allocated to non-UK nationals in the year to December 2011.

The estimated number of British citizens emigrating long-term from the UK in the year to September 2011 was 142,000 not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 136,000 in the year to September 2010.

The MSQR series brings together statistics on migration that is published quarterly by the Home Office, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Office for National Statistics, and the National Records of Scotland.