More people are moving to work and live in the UK, latest official data shows

by Ray Clancy on November 27, 2015

The UK is seeing a record number of people moving to the country to live and work with net long term migration reaching 336,000 in the 12 months to the end of June 2015, the latest official statistics show.

This was a rise of 82,000 year on year while the number of people leaving the country has fallen as well, according to the data from the Office of National Statistics.

Union JackThe data shows that the UK is increasingly popular with people from other European Union countries on the rise. Net migration of EU citizens showed a statistically significant increase to 180,000. But the UK is also a draw from everywhere in the world with the number of non-EU net migration also seeing statistically significant increase, to 201,000.

Indians are the highest group with 45,000 or 8% of all immigrants, up from third last year, followed by China with 39,000 or 7%, down from top last year, and Romania with 34,000 or 6%, up from ninth last year.

In fourth place was Poland with 32,000 or 5% of all immigrants, up from fifth last year, meaning that Poland has remained in the top five since 2005. Spain was next with 31,000 or 5% of all immigrants, down from second last year. Australia, in sixth place, has fallen out of the top five.

Most people are moving to the UK to work with 294,000 doing so in the year to June 2015, continuing an upward trend that started in March 2013. Some 64%, or 187,000, had a definite job to go to and 162,000 of those coming for work related reasons were from the EU.

Of those coming with a definite job, 101,000 were EU citizens, a statistically significant increase of 22,000 on June 2014. A further 54,000 of those coming for a definite job were non-EU citizens, also a statistically significant increase of 11,000.

The latest employment statistics show that estimated employment of EU nationals, excluding British, living in the UK was two million in July to September 2015, some 324,000 higher than the same quarter last year.

Non-EU nationals in employment remained broadly similar at 1.2 million, and the total number of British nationals in employment increased by 122,000 to 28.1 million. Therefore, three quarters of the growth in employment over the last year was accounted for by foreign nationals.

The data also shows that in the 12 months to September 2015, total work related visas granted for non-EU nationals increased by 6% to 122,909, including a 4,105 (8%) increase to 54,174 for skilled work (Tier 2) visas.

The number of foreign students increased from 175,000 to 192,000, but the ONS said that this is not statistically significant. Visa applications to study at a UK university from non-EU citizens increased by 0.2% to 167,425.

The ONS data gives an insight into where people who move to the UK want to live. The vast majority of immigrants arrive to live in England at 555,000 in 2014, some 88% of the total 632,000 immigrants to the UK. The relative proportions of immigrants arriving in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were 6%, 4% and 2%, respectively.

Within England, 178,000 people moved to London in 2014, compared to 140,000 in 2013. This is a similar level to that seen in 2005, although not as high as the peak in 2000 when immigration to London was 206,000.

In 2014 the South East at 70,000 and the East at 70,000 received the largest numbers of immigrants outside London. While immigration to the East is the highest level on record since records began in 1991, it is not a statistically significant increase compared to 2013 when it was 56,000.

In total, London, the South East and the East received 50% of all immigrants to the UK in 2014. The North West region received the highest number of immigrants outside London, the South East and East with 55,000.

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