The independent Office for National Statistics suggests this has been driven, in the most recent period, by a decline in the number of people coming to the UK.
There was a 5% increase in sponsored student visa applications for the university sector as well as a 5% increase in visas issued to skilled workers. Other significant figures include:
• 10% increase in study visas issued for Chinese nationals in the year to March 2013
• 6% increase in student visitor visas in the year to March 2013
• fall in overall number of visas (excluding visitors and transit) by 6% in year ending March 2013, the lowest 12 month total for which comparable data is available
We’ve cut out abuse
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:
The figures show that we have cut out abuse while encouraging the brightest and best migrants who will contribute to economic growth.
We have made substantial inroads in cutting immigration and now have a more selective system that works in our national interest. Looking forward, our Immigration Bill will reduce the pull factors to this country and make it easier to remove people with no right to be here.