Non EU migration lowest since 90s
Office for National Statistics figures published today (22 May) show that while recent net migration remains stable it has fallen by a third since its peak in 2005.
The figures also showed net migration from outside the EU is down to levels not seen since the late 1990s, demonstrating that reforms to curb non-EU migration and tackle abuse in the work, family and student visa routes are having the intended impact.
Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said:
Uncontrolled, mass immigration makes it difficult to maintain social cohesion, puts pressure on our public services and forces down wages for people on low incomes.
We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system or flout the law. We want to ensure that people come to the UK for the right reasons – to work hard and contribute to our economy and society.
Government reforms have clamped down on student abuse, while still ensuring that we continue to attract the brightest and best students to our world class universities. Figures showed there was an 8% increase in the number of student visas applications for universities, with a rise of 11% for Russell Group institutions. Applications for the further education sector, where much of the abuse was concentrated, continue to fall, with sponsored applications down 31%.
Home Office figures
The latest Home Office figures showed:
- since 2010, family immigration is down by 7%, while student immigration is down by 28%;
- the UK continues to welcome top global talent to work for British businesses, with sponsored visa applications for skilled workers up 18% with significant increases from nationals from India (17%), Australia (30%) and United States (9%). The majority of applications were for work in the following fields; Information and Communication, Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities, Finance and Insurance sectors; and
- there have been a record number of visitor visa applications, with close to 2m visas issued – up 14% compared to the previous year. China, Russia and Kuwait showed the biggest rises in visitors.