This release presents the latest immigration statistics from Home Office administrative sources, covering the period up to the end of June 2013.

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

1. Summary Points: April to June 2013

All data below relate to the year ending June 2013 and all comparisons are with the year ending June 2012, unless indicated otherwise.

1.1 Visas issued (Before Entry)

The number of work, study and family-related visas issued to non-EEA nationals continued to fall compared with the previous 12 months, although work and study fell less quickly than previously. Total visas issued fell 4% to 501,840 (excluding visitor and transit visas), although this was slightly higher than the year ending March 2013 (499,641)

1.2 Work

There was a 2% fall for work visas issued to 144,554, accounted for by lower numbers for (Tier 1) high value individuals following the closure of the Tier 1 General and Tier 1 Post Study categories to new applicants, partially offset by an increase for skilled workers (Tier 2). However, work visas issued were slightly (2%) higher than in the year ending March 2013 (141,772), due to increases for skilled workers and for youth mobility and temporary workers.

By contrast there was a 9% increase in work-related extensions to 145,855, largely explained by higher numbers of grants for skilled workers (Tier 2), offset partly by lower numbers in the high value workers’ route (Tier 1).

1.3 Study

There were 5% fewer study visas issued (to 204,469 including dependants), mainly explained by smaller numbers of Pakistani and Indian students, although there were increases for other nationals, including Chinese and Libyans. Over the same period there were 2% fewer sponsored study visa applications (206,871, main applicants), of which there was a 4% increase for the university sector, compared with falls for the further education sector (-25%), English language schools (-16%), and independent schools (-3%).

1.4 Family

There was a fall of 24% for family-related visas issued (to 34,201), while grants of permission to stay permanently (60,079) increased by 24%. A rise of 89% in family-related extensions of stay (to 30,899) was mainly due to 10,256 extensions recorded under the new Family life (10 year) route that would previously have been recorded as discretionary leave under the “other” published category.

1.5 EEA

For Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, approvals under the Sector Based Scheme fell by 22% (to 496) and approvals under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme fell by 5% (to 19,392). In 2012 there were falls in approvals for these nationals of 32% for accession worker cards (to 1,803) and 7% for registration certificates (to 22,353), compared with 2011. However figures for these schemes do not provide a full picture; in particular they exclude the self-employed.

1.6 Asylum

There were 23,499 asylum applications, a rise of 18%, with increases in applications from a range of nationalities, including Syria, Pakistan and Albania. This remains low relative to the peak in 2002 (84,132), and similar to levels seen since 2006. Correspondingly, the number of applications received since April 2006 pending a decision continues to rise, by 23% to 14,589 main applicants at the end of June 2013.

1.7 Citizenship

There was a 14% increase in people granted British citizenship (to 204,541), which may reflect greater resource used for decision-making.

1.8 Detention

In the second quarter of 2013, 38 children entered detention, a decrease from 66 in the second quarter of 2012.

2. Other points to note

2.1 Admissions

There were 108.2 million journeys to the UK, a 2% increase.

2.2 Student visitors

There was a 5% increase in student visitor visas issued to 72,496 (student visitors are normally only allowed to stay for up to 6 months, or 11 months for English language schools, and cannot extend their stay). The nationalities accounting for the increase for student visitor visas were different from those contributing to the fall in study visas over the same period.

Including non-visa nationals, there were a total of 299,000 student visitor admissions to the UK in 2012, compared with 262,000 in 2011. Of these 299,000 arrivals, nearly half (49%) were from the United States (145,000) with Brazil the next largest nationality (19,400).

2.3 Extensions

There were 8% more grants of extensions, to 291,953, with increases of 9% in work, 8% in study and 89% in family-related grants (mainly due to the introduction of the new Family Life (10 year) route), partly offset by a 46% fall in grants for other reasons (mainly discretionary). The overall increase followed annual falls over the previous three years.

2.4 Settlement

There were 9% more people granted permission to stay permanently (settlement), rising to 153,058. The increase was accounted for by increases for family and asylum-related grants partly offset by a fall in those for which were work related.

2.5 Detention

5% more people entered detention (to 29,710) and 5% more people left detention (to 29,348). Of those leaving detention, 59% were removed from the UK. As of the end of June 2013, 3,142 people were in detention, 5% higher than the number recorded at the end of June 2012.

2.6 Removals and Voluntary Departures

There were 7% fewer enforced removals (to 14,062), and 1% fewer passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed (to 14,134). There was little change in voluntary departures (29,265).

Further, more detailed, analysis can be found below.

3. Data tables

Listing of the data tables included in ‘Immigration Statistics April to June 2013’.

4. Work

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

4.1 Introduction

This section describes non-EEA nationals who are coming to the UK to work or who are in the UK for work. It explains trends in the numbers of such people (including dependants) who are issued with visas, admitted, granted extensions to stay, or who are given permission to stay permanently (known as settlement), as well as the number of long-term immigrants (non-EU) i.e. those intending to stay for at least 12 months for work.

4.2 Key facts

In the year ending June 2013, there were 2% fewer work-related visas issued (144,554) and 12% fewer permissions to stay permanently (60,959), and a 9% increase in extensions (145,855), compared with the previous 12 months. In 2012, there were 4% fewer work-related admissions (142,000) and 5% fewer non-EU long term immigrants for work (44,000 estimated from the International Passenger Survey).

There was a slight increase in work-related visas issued in the year ending June 2013 (+2% or +2,782) compared with the year ending March 2013 (141,772), following previous steady falls from 161,809 in the year ending March 2011.

For Tier 1 high value individuals there have been a fall in grants of visas in the year ending June 2013 compared with the previous 12 months, from 21,397 to 12,419 (-8,978). The fall largely reflected the closure of the Tier 1 General and Tier 1 Post-study categories to new applicants.

For Tier 1 high value individuals there have also been a fall in grants of extensions in the year ending June 2013, from 85,036 to 72,649 (-12,387); mainly accounted for by fewer extensions in the Post-study category, down from 46,841 to 16,730 (-30,111), which was partly offset by an increase in the Tier 1 General category, from 36,649 to 51,473 (+14,824).

Over the same period there was an increase in visas granted for Tier 2 skilled workers, from 67,730 to 72,923 (+5,193), largely accounted for by Tier 2 Intra Company Transfers, which increased from 46,533 to 50,678 (+4,145). There was also an increase in grants of extensions for Tier 2 skilled workers from 38,926 to 60,384 (+21,458), largely due to rises in the Tier 2 General category (+17,212) and in the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer category (+4,144).

In the year ending June 2013, there were 7% more Tier 2 skilled worker sponsored visa applications (main applicants), increasing to 43,485, of which the majority were in the Information and Communication (18,304), Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (7,668), and Financial and Insurance Activities (5,551) sectors.

The chart shows the trends for work of visas issued, admissions and International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of non-EU immigration, extensions and work-related permissions to stay permanently (settlement) between the year ending December 2005 and th

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Before entry table be 04 q, Admissions table ad 02 q, Extensions table ex 01 q and Settlement table se 02 q; Office for National Statistics.

The chart above shows that International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of non-EU immigration are substantially lower than work-related visas and admissions. However, the IPS estimates follow a broadly similar trend with increases in all three series between 2005 and 2006 followed by subsequent falls. Two reasons why IPS estimates of immigrants for work are lower than figures for work visas issued or passenger arrivals are that the IPS figures exclude any workers who intend to stay for less than a year and exclude dependants. Further reasons are described in the User Guide.

(Total 145,110)

The chart shows visas issued by nationality in 2012. The chart is based on data in Table be 06 q w.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Before entry table be 06 q w.

For both work-related visas and admissions, the highest numbers relate to Indian, Australian and United States nationals. In 2012, the top 10 nationalities were the same for both series, apart from a difference in the order.

Some of the differences in the ranking between visas and admissions data for 2012 may be due to timing differences, for example, some visas granted in 2012 may be used in 2013. Additionally, some individuals admitted within the creative and sporting category (part of Tier 5) do not need a visa, and this largely explains the higher number of admissions (estimated at 26,700) of United States nationals compared to numbers issued with a visa (13,703).

Top 10 nationalities granted an extension to stay for work, 2012

(Total 94,549, excludes dependants)

The chart shows grants of extension of stay by nationality in 2012. The chart is based on data in Table ex 02 w.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Extensions table ex 02 w.

For 2012 data, the nationality breakdown for those granted extensions is in some respects different from the top 10 nationalities rankings for admissions and for visas, notably with Nigeria, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Sri Lanka accounting for the fourth, seventh, eighth and tenth highest number of extensions for work.

Analysing the data in Extensions table ex 02 w further, the main explanation for the difference in the nationality breakdown is that over half of the grants to Nigerian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan nationals were grants as high value individuals under the (Tier 1) Post-study route. Since they originally entered via a study route, they are not prominent in the nationality rankings for work-related admissions and visas. Turkish nationals also have special provision to switch into the ‘work route’ under the European Community Association Agreement with Turkey.

4.4 Permission to stay permanently (Settlement)

Some individuals who are admitted to the UK to work can become eligible to stay permanently after five years.

There was a 12% (-8,008) fall in work-related grants to stay permanently to 60,959 in the year ending June 2013, which continued the fall from 92,176 in the year ending June 2010. Before 2010, there had been a broadly rising trend in work-related grants that had partly reflected an increase in the number of people admitted in work categories five years earlier. The dip in the number of work-related grants in 2006 and 2007 reflects a change in the qualifying period from four to five years, delaying grants that would otherwise have occurred earlier.

The nationality profile for grants of permission to stay permanently in 2012, the latest available settlement data by nationality, differs slightly to the profile for grants of work visas in 2012, with 8 of the top 10 nationalities also in the top 10 nationalities issued with visas for work. A notable difference was South Africa, ranked second for permission to stay permanently, but not seen in the top 10 for visas. Analysing the data in Settlement table se 03 further, reveals that the most common of the qualifying categories for South Africans was ‘Commonwealth citizens with a United Kingdom born Grandparent taking or seeking employment’ (accounting for 955 of the 2,404 grants).

Tier 2 skilled workers and Tier 5 youth mobility and temporary workers

As part of the application process for visas and extensions, individuals must obtain a certificate of sponsorship from an employer. This release contains Before entry tables cs 01 q to cs 06 q providing information on the number of employers registered and their sponsor rating. The tables also provide data on the nationality and industry sector of main applicants using certificates.

Register of sponsors

An employer may be counted more than once in the total if registered separately to sponsor both Tier 2 and Tier 5 individuals or registered for more than one sub-Tier. Altogether there were 26,627 employers on the register on 1 July 2013, 3% higher than on 29 June 2012 (25,807).

Skilled individuals (Tier 2)

In the year ending June 2013, there were 7% more sponsored visa applications (main applicants) as skilled individuals than the previous 12 months (from 40,490 to 43,485). The majority of the 43,485 certificates used related to the Information and Communication (18,304, up 6%), Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (7,668, up 2%), Financial and Insurance Activities (5,551, up 3%), Manufacturing (2,477, up 9%) and Education (2,387, up 48%) sectors. There were also notable falls for the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (539, down 17%) and Mining and Quarrying (857, down 11%) sectors.

In the same period there were 51% more sponsored extension applications (main applicants) as skilled individuals than in the previous 12 months (from 22,043 to 33,265 ). The majority of the certificates used related to the Information and Communication (6,898, up 38%), Human Health and Social Work Activities (6,070, up 58%), Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (4,625, up 49%), Education (3,931, up 62%) and Financial and Insurance Activities (3,449, up 60%) sectors.

Youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5)

In the year ending June 2013, there were 5% more sponsored visa applications (main applicants) as youth mobility and temporary workers than the previous 12 months (from 39,380 to 41,207). The large majority of these 41,207 certificates related to the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (29,755, up 4%) and Education (4,183, up 1%) sectors. There were a total of 455 sponsored applications for extensions for Tier 5; the relatively small numbers reflecting the rules relating to extensions for such workers.

4.6 Staying in the UK

The Migrant Journey Third Report reported that 40% of migrants issued with skilled work visas in 2006 appear to have legally remained in the immigration system or have settled in the UK after five years. After five years 11% had some form of valid leave to remain and 29% had been granted permission to stay permanently (settlement). This is a reduction from 47% of migrants issued skilled work visas in 2004. Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey Third Report.

4.7 Data tables

Data on immigration for work, sourced from Home Office administrative systems, can be found in the following tables:

4.8 About the figures

There are a range of measures that can be used to monitor those, subject to immigration control, coming to the UK to work. These include:

  • issues of visas for entry clearance, providing information on those intending to come;
  • admissions data, providing information on migrants at the border;
  • numbers of people allocated national insurance numbers, providing an indication of migrants entering the labour market; and
  • estimates on non-EU immigration from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) on migrants intending to stay for at least a year for work purposes.

In addition, grants of (in-country) extensions of stay for work purposes provide information on migrants in-country, while work-related grants of settlement provide a measure of longer-term migration.

Trends in extensions and in permission to stay permanently will depend on admissions and immigration in previous years.

Figures for immigration in this topic relate to non-EU nationals whilst other figures (visas, admissions, extensions, permission to stay permanently) relate to non-EEA nationals.

The various statistics and research presented can appear to give different pictures of immigration for work. Often this is because the latest data for different measures cover different time periods. In addition, they also count different aspects of the immigration process, with some showing intentions or permissions, while others show actual events.

The Before Entry, Admissions and Settlement sections of the User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics include a discussion on the differences between the various data sources presented on immigration for work.

Data includes dependants unless stated otherwise.

Recent falls for work-related visas, admissions and immigration are likely to be partly due to policy changes that came into effect from 2011. The Post-study work route was closed to new applications on 6 April 2012 but existing applications continue to be processed after this date. From December 2010, Tier 1 General was closed to applicants who are outside the UK and it was closed to migrants who were already in the UK, in most immigration categories, from April 2011. Details of these policy changes, together with information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics, can be found in the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide.

The User Guide provides further details on the topics related to work including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being based on data sourced from an administrative database or from surveys.

IPS data for 2012 are final. All other data for 2012 and 2013 are provisional.

Figures for admissions and immigration are estimates rounded to the nearest thousand.

The UK Border Agency report ‘Points-based system Tier 1: an operational assessment – November 2010’ looked into the jobs being done by migrants who were in the UK under Tier 1 of the Points-based system, to inform subsequent decisions about the points-based system, in particular the closure of the Tier 1 General and Tier 1 Post-study routes.

Office for National Statistics publish international migration ‘statistics on those migrating for work’, and ‘labour market statistics’ (including employment rates and changes by country of birth and by nationality).

National Insurance Number Allocations to Adult Overseas Nationals entering the UK’ are published by the Department for Work and Pensions. On 20 January 2012, the department published a report on ‘Nationality at point of National Insurance Number registration of DWP benefit claimants: February 2011 working age benefits’.

The Migration Advisory Committee publishes reports relating to migration for work.

Salt, J., 2012, International Migration and the United Kingdom: Report of the United Kingdom SOPEMI Correspondent to the OECD, 2013, London: Migration Research Unit.

5. Study

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

5.1 Introduction

This section focuses on non-EEA nationals who are subject to immigration control and who come to or who are in the UK to study.

For those students subject to immigration control, administrative information is available on visas, extensions to stay and records of student admissions (number of journeys). The International Passenger Survey (IPS), run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also provides estimates of long-term immigration of students to the UK (those arriving with the intention of staying for a year or more).

5.2 Key facts

Study-related visas issued, admissions and long-term immigration have all continued to fall, though less quickly than previously.

There was a 5% (-9,750) fall in study visas issued (excluding student visitors) in the year ending June 2013 (204,469) compared with the previous 12 months; in the calendar year 2012 study-related admissions fell 21% (to 211,000) compared with 2011 and over the same period estimates of non-EU long-term immigration for study fell by 23% to 139,000.

The 9,750 (-5%) fall in study visas issued included notable falls for Pakistani (-8,457 or -54%) and Indian (-7,927 or -35%) nationals. There were some increases for other nationalities, including an increase of 1,537 (+3%) for Chinese nationals, and 1,794 (up nearly three-fold or +277%) for Libyan nationals, consistent with a return to previous levels, following civil unrest in Libya.

In contrast there was a 5% increase in student visitor visas issued, to 72,496 for the year ending June 2013. Student visitors are normally only allowed to stay for up to 6 months (11 months for English language schools) and cannot extend their stay. The nationalities accounting for the increase in student visitor visas differs from those accounting for the fall in study visas.

There was a 2% fall in sponsored visa applications (main applicants) to study for the year ending June 2013 (to 206,871) compared with the previous 12 months (211,690). This change was not uniform across the different educational sectors. There was a 4% increase for the university sector in contrast to falls of 25%, 16% and 3% respectively for the further education sector, English language schools and independent schools.

The chart shows visas issued for the purposes of study by nationality for 2012. The chart is based on data in Table be 06 q s.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April – June 2013, Before entry table be 04 q and Admissions table ad 02 q; Office for National Statistics.
(1) Excludes student visitors who are allowed to come to the UK for 6 months (or 11 months if they will be studying an English language course) and cannot extend their stay.
(2) For periods prior to the year ending September 2008, the count of student admissions is not comparable as there was no specific admissions category for student visitors who may then have been recorded as either students or visitors.

The above chart shows that IPS long-term immigration estimates, while being substantially lower, follow a broadly similar trend to student visas issued and passenger arrivals, with steep increases in all three series during 2009 and a steep decrease from 2011. Two of the reasons why IPS estimates of students arriving are lower than figures for student visas issued or passenger arrivals are that the IPS figures exclude: the many students who intend to stay for less than a year; and dependants of those immigrating for the purposes of study.

Despite the general trend being similar, there are instances where the trends in visas issued, admissions and IPS estimates occasionally diverge. This apparent discrepancy is in part due to the potential for a margin of error that is inherent in sample surveys, together with possible changes in the proportion intending to stay for more than a year and the time difference between a visa being issued and the individual arriving.

5.3 Visas

The number of visas issued for study (excluding student visitors) fell by 5% (-9,750) from 214,219 in the year ending June 2012 to 204,469 in the year ending June 2013.

The 9,750 (-5%) fall was more than accounted for by falls of 8,457 (-54%) for Pakistani nationals and of 7,927 (-35%) for Indian nationals. There were some increases for other nationalities including an increase from 826 to 2,300 (+178%) for Brazil, 55,998 to 57,535 for China (+3%) and 647 to 2,441 (+277%) for Libya.

The rise in the number of visas issued for the purposes of study to Libyans is consistent with a return to previous levels, following civil unrest in Libya. In the year ending June 2013 visas issued to Libyan nationals represented 1% (2,441) of all study visas and 3% (2,395) of all student visitors issued.

Top 10 nationalities issued study visas (excluding student visitors), 2012

(Total 209,749)

The chart shows the trends of visas issued, admissions and International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of non-EU immigration for study between the year ending December 2005 and the latest data published. The data are sourced from Tables be 04 q and ad.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Before entry table be 06 q s.

The top 10 nationalities accounted for over two-thirds (70%) of all study visas issued in 2012, with the top 5 nationalities (China, India, United States, Nigeria and Pakistan) accounting for over half (53%).

Study visas (excluding student visitors) issued to Indian and Pakistani nationals have both decreased since peaks in the years ending June 2010 (68,238) and June 2011 (42,710) respectively. The number of visas issued to Chinese nationals has increased steadily since the year ending December 2005 (18,977) and for the year ending June 2013 was at the second highest level recorded (57,535) using comparable data.

5.4 Student visitors

Student visitors are issued with a visa for a maximum 6 month duration or in a very small number of cases for 11 months if studying an English language course. Student visitors are not counted as long-term migrants and cannot extend their stay, so they are not included within the references to ‘study’ visas in this section.

In 2012, 68,351 student visitor visas were issued, 11% more (+6,945) than 2011. Most of the 6,945 increase related to Asian nationals (+3,590), with increases for Chinese (+1,757), South Korean (+827) and Japanese (+596) nationals. There was also an increase for Libyans (+1,484). The number of visas issued to student visitors has increased steadily since the category was introduced in September 2007.

Top 10 nationalities issued student visitor visas, 2012

(Total 68,351)

The chart shows student visitor visas issued by nationality for 2012. The chart is based on data in Table be 06 q s.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Before entry table be 06 q s.

The top 10 nationalities accounted for over two-thirds (70%) of the 68,351 student visitor visas issued in 2012.

Although there had been a 6,945 increase in student visitor visas issued in 2012 at the same time as a fall in study visas by 52,121, the pattern of these changes for individual nationalities does not indicate a clear or consistent relationship. The nationalities accounting for most of the 52,121 fall in study visas issued (Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) have seen only small changes in the number of student visitor visas issued, numbering +20, +73, +8 and -12 respectively.

There were 299,000 student visitor admissions in 2012. Of those arrivals admitted as student visitors in 2012, nearly half (49%) were from the United States (145,000) with Brazil the next largest nationality (6%, 19,400).

Many of the top 10 nationalities for student visitor admissions were non-visa nationalities (including the United States and Brazil). The main factor that accounts for student visitor admissions being much higher than visas issued is that non-visa nationals do not need to obtain a visa if they wish to come to the UK as a student visitor for up to 6 months and so are included in the admissions data but not the visas data.

5.5 Admissions

Latest data show that there were 21% (-56,000) fewer study-related admissions in the year ending December 2012 (211,000) than in previous 12 months.

5.6 Immigration for study

IPS estimates show that for the year ending December 2012, there were an estimated 23% fewer non-EU long-term study-related migrants (139,000) than in the previous 12 months (180,000).
Source: ONS, Long-Term International Migration.

5.7 Extensions of stay

There was an 8% increase in study-related grants of extension in the year ending June 2013 (100,507) compared with year ending June 2012 (93,287).

Study-related grants of extensions in the year ending June 2013 include 118 grants under the new Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme introduced on 6 April 2013.

On 1 July 2013 there were 1,724 educational institutions on the UK Visas and Immigration register of sponsoring educational institutions. This was 5% lower than 2 April 2013 (1,820) and 15% lower than 29 June 2012 (2,037) which continues the falls seen since the published series began in October 2011 (2,370).

The decrease in the number of sponsoring educational institutions is consistent with the introduction of new accreditation criteria and conditions of status for educational sponsors from April 2011.

The chart shows the trends in confirmations of acceptance of studies used in applications for visas by education sector since 2010 to the latest data available. The chart is based on data in Table cs 09 q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Before entry table cs 09 q.
‘Universities’ relate to UK-based Higher Education Institutions.
‘Further education’ relate to tertiary, further education or other colleges.

There were 2% fewer study-related sponsored visa applications in the year ending June 2013 (206,871) compared with the previous 12 months, but the change was not uniform across the education sectors. There were 4% more sponsored visa applications for the university sector (to 159,734), and falls in the further education sector (to 26,477, -25%), English language schools (to 3,423, -16%) and independent schools (to 13,778, -3%).

There were also corresponding falls of 1% (-1,350, to 231,649) and 5% (-9,750, to 204,469) in study-related visa applications and visas issued (excluding student visitors) in the year ending June 2013 compared with the previous 12 months.

There were 91,557 sponsored applications for extensions in the year ending June 2013, 4% more than the previous 12 months, but, again, the change was not uniform across the education sectors. There were 2% fewer sponsored applications for extensions in the university sector (to 53,322), increases in the further education sector (to 32,863, +23%) and independent schools (to 2,426, +11%) and 40% fewer sponsored applications for extensions for English language schools (to 1,438).

5.9 Staying in the UK

The Migrant Journey Third Report reported that 1 in 5 (18%) of migrants issued student visas in 2006 appear to have legally remained in the immigration system or settled in the UK after 5 years. After 5 years 17% had some form of valid leave to remain and 1% had been granted permission to stay permanently (settlement). This is a reduction from 1 in 4 (25%) of migrants issued student visas in 2004. Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey Third Report.

5.10 Data tables

Data on student immigration, sourced from Home Office administrative systems, can be found in the following tables:

The Office for National Statistics publishes data on student immigration.

5.11 About the figures

There are a range of measures that can be used to monitor those, subject to immigration control, coming to the UK to study. These include:

  • applications and issues of (entry clearance) visas, providing information on those intending to come;
  • admissions data, providing information on migrants at the border;
  • estimates on non-EU immigration from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) on migrants intending to stay for at least a year for study purposes.

Data for visas and admissions exclude student visitors unless stated otherwise. The student visitor category provides for persons who wish to come to the UK as a visitor and undertake a short period of study. Visa data on student visitors include those who applied on the ‘short-term student’ endorsement prior to the introduction of the ‘student visitor’ endorsement in September 2007. For admissions short-term students may have been classified as visitors prior to September 2007; for consistency and comparability over time they are excluded from study-related totals.

In addition, grants of (in-country) extensions of stay for study purposes provide information on migrants in-country. Trends in extensions will depend on admissions and immigration in previous years.

Figures for immigration in this topic relate to non-EU nationals whilst other figures (visas, admissions, extensions) relate to non-EEA nationals.

The various statistics for those coming to the UK to study can appear to give different pictures of student immigration. Often this is because the latest data for different measures cover different time periods. In addition, they also count different aspects of the immigration process, with some showing intentions or permissions, while others show actual events.

The Before Entry, Admissions and Extensions sections of the User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics include a discussion on the differences between the various data sources presented on immigration for study. The User Guide also provides further details on the topics relating to study including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being estimated from samples or based on data sourced from an administrative database or from surveys.

For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide.

Data include dependants unless stated otherwise.

IPS data for 2012 are final. All other data for 2012 and 2013 are provisional.

Figures for admissions and long-term immigration in this briefing are estimates rounded to the nearest thousand.

Statistics on students in Higher Education Institutions including analysis of overseas student numbers are available from published statistics released by The Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA).

6. Family

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

6.1 Introduction

This topic brief focuses on non-EEA nationals who come to the UK for family reasons.

For those subject to immigration control, administrative information is available on visas, extensions of stay, records of admissions (number of journeys) and permission to stay permanently (known as settlement). These differentiate between the ‘family route’ and dependants of other migrants. The International Passenger Survey (IPS), run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also provides estimates of long-term immigration for all those who state their main reason for migrating to the UK is to accompany or join someone else including family members and have the intention of staying for a year or more.

6.2 Key facts

In the year ending June 2013, numbers of family-related visas issued (34,201) fell by 24%, while grants of extensions of stay (30,899) and permission to stay permanently (60,079) increased by 89% and 24% respectively. However, changes in the rules mean that the extensions data are not directly comparable over time, further details are below. There was little change in the number of visas issued to all other dependants (excluding visitors) in the year ending June 2013 (72,294) compared with the previous 12 months.

In 2012, IPS long-term estimates for non-EU nationals accompanying or joining others in the UK were 39,000, significantly lower than 52,000 in 2011.

The chart shows the trends of visas issued and International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of immigration for family reasons between the year ending December 2005 and the latest data published. The visa data are sourced from Table be 04 q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Before entry table be 04 q; Office for National Statistics.
(1) Includes all dependants (e.g. dependants for work and study), except visitors.

IPS long-term estimates of non-EU immigration for those accompanying or joining others in the UK include those arriving on family visas, as well as persons accompanying others who are arriving for other reasons, such as for work or study.

The above chart shows that IPS estimates, while being substantially lower, follow a broadly similar trend to the total for family route visas and other visas issued to dependants with some recent decline across both data sources since the year ending June 2011. The trend for IPS estimates appears to be similar to figures for family visas alone; however, this is coincidental given the IPS category includes all migrants intending to stay for a year or more who describe their main reason for migration as to ‘accompany or join’, regardless of the type of visa they hold. A reason why IPS estimates of those arriving are lower than figures for family and dependant visas combined is that the IPS figures exclude the many people who come to the UK but intend to stay for less than a year.

Despite the general trends being similar, there are instances where the trends in visas issued and IPS estimates appear to be different. This apparent discrepancy could be due to the potential for a margin of error that is inherent in sample surveys, together with possible changes in the proportion intending to stay for more than a year or who state to the IPS that they are accompanying and joining others as opposed to arriving for a different reason and the time difference between a visa being issued and the individual arriving.

6.3 Visas

The number of entry clearance visas issued to those on the ‘family route’ fell by 24% in the year ending June 2013 to 34,201 compared with 12 months earlier (45,281). The fall in visas has been seen across all of the top 20 nationalities for family visas, with the United States seeing the largest fall (-1,242 or -46%), followed by Nepal (-1,030 or -37%) and Pakistan (-966 or -14%).

The 24% fall in family-related visas issued consisted of a 27% fall for partners (to 25,528), a 15% fall for children (to 3,773) and a 13% fall for other dependants (to 4,900).

A visa application is counted as resolved if it has been issued, refused or withdrawn or the application has lapsed. The proportion of all family-related visas resolved that were refused had been between 17 and 22% between the year ending December 2005 and the year ending September 2012. Since then, the proportion refused has increased to 38% in the year ending June 2013. This increase coincides with changes to the family Immigration Rules, which apply to applications made on or after 9 July 2012. However, it is not possible to separately identify whether decisions made on or after 9 July 2012 relate to applications made under the previous or new rules.

There has been little change in the number of visas issued to all other dependants (excluding visitors) not part of the ‘family route’ in the year ending June 2013 (72,294) compared with 12 months earlier (72,653) following a fall from 96,041 in the year ending March 2011. In the latest year, a fall of 1,111 in visas issued to dependants joining or accompanying has been almost offset by small increases in dependants of students (+245) or workers (+507).

Decreases in the number of visas issued to dependants coming to the UK since year ending June 2011 are, in part, consistent with changes to the rules governing visas issued to those coming to the UK for work or study and their dependants from December 2010 and April 2011 respectively.

6.4 Admissions

Admissions for family reasons fell to 27,300 in 2012 (compared with 32,300 in the previous 12 months), continuing the overall trend since 2006.

6.5 Immigration for family reasons

IPS estimates of non-EU nationals accompanying or coming to join family or friends for a year or more were 39,000 in 2012, significantly lower than the 52,000 in the previous 12 months. Prior to this, levels in the previous rolling years had remained broadly similar. Source: ONS, Long-Term International Migration.

6.6 Extensions of stay

Family-related grants of extensions rose by 89% (+14,507) to 30,899 in the year ending June 2013, the highest number when comparing all available data since 2008 and following a low of 15,459 in the year ending September 2012. Of the 14,507 increase, 10,256 are due to grants in the new Family Life (10-year) category which would previously have been considered for Discretionary Leave and counted within ‘other’ rather than being counted as family-related. This reclassification means that the total numbers of family grants are not directly comparable over time and follows a new approach to people seeking to remain in the UK on the basis of their right to a family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights since 9 July 2012. Applicants must satisfy new requirements set out in the amended Immigration Rules. Details of the new approach can be found in the ‘family migration statement of intent’.

The remainder of the increase was accounted for by an increased number of grants of extensions to spouses from 16,278 to 20,530, showing signs of a return to recent levels of extensions but still much lower than 2008 (27,094).

Refusals of family-related extensions have also increased; between 2008 and 2012, the number of refusals ranged between 1,557 and 2,743 (or between 6 and 13% of all family-related decisions), but in the year ending June 2013 there were 8,397 refusals or 21% of all decisions. Of the 8,397, 5,903 were refusals of extensions to spouses (increasing from 1,790 in the year ending June 2012) and 2,483 were refusals to the new Family Life (10-year) category which was previously counted within the “other” category. The other 11 refusals were to fiancé(e)s or other relatives.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of the 39,296 family-related decisions made in the year ending June 2013 were made in the first half of 2013, with the first quarter accounting for 40% of the overall year. This may reflect additional resource deployed to decision-making in the Home Office since the beginning of 2013.

In addition, there were grants of extension for 55,254 dependants of workers, 12,375 dependants of students and 5,242 other dependants, overall a 20% (+11,893) increase compared to the year ending June 2012, driven by an increase in dependants of workers of 13,718 to 55,254.

6.7 Settlement

Family formation and reunion grants of settlement rose by 24% (+11,769) to 60,079 in the year ending June 2013, although still much lower than in 2009 and 2010 and following an overall fall from a peak of 75,852 in the year ending March 2010. The recent increase is more than accounted for by increases in the number of grants to husbands and wives which, combined, saw increases of 32% (+12,033) on the previous year, but remained lower than levels seen in 2009 and 2010.

6.8 Staying in the UK

Analysis undertaken for the Migrant Journey Third Report showed that 66% of migrants issued family visas in 2006 appear to have legally remained in the immigration system after five years, 5% having some form of valid leave to remain and 61% achieving settlement. This is an increase from 59% for migrants issued family visas in 2004. Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey Third Report.

6.9 Data tables

Data on family immigration, sourced from Home Office administrative systems, can be found in the following tables:

The Office for National Statistics publishes estimates of those coming to join or accompany others.

6.10 About the figures

There are a range of measures that can be used to monitor those, subject to immigration control, coming to the UK for family reasons. These include:

  • issues of visas for entry clearance, providing information on those intending to come;
  • admissions data, providing information on migrants at the border;
  • settlement data, providing information on the number of people who are granted or refused permission to stay permanently;
  • estimates on non-EU immigration from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) on migrants intending to stay for at least a year to accompany or join someone else including family.

In addition, grants of (in-country) extensions of stay granted to those on the ‘family route’ provide information on migrants already in the UK.

The numbers of applications and decisions made reflect changes over time in levels of immigration, as well as policy and legislative changes, including changes to immigration legislation. The availability and allocation of resources within UK Visas and Immigration can also affect the number of decisions. In July 2012 changes were made to the family Immigration Rules, which apply to applications made on or after 9 July 2012. It is not possible to separately identify applications made under the previous and new rules.

There are a number of ways that allow people to come to the UK for family reasons. The traditional ‘family route’ is made up of those coming to join or accompany family members who are British Citizens or settled people. This includes married or unmarried partners, including same-sex partners; children; and elderly relatives. Others come as dependants of people who have not been granted settlement, including the family members of those working or studying in the UK and of refugees. There are also those who come for a short time to visit family members.

Figures for immigration as measured by the IPS relate to non-EU nationals whilst other figures (visas, extensions, settlement) relate to non-EEA nationals.

The various statistics for those coming to the UK for family reasons can appear to give different pictures of immigration. Often this is because the latest data for different measures cover different time periods. In addition, they also count different aspects of the immigration process, with some showing intentions or permissions, while others show actual events. For example, the numbers of passengers recorded as entering the country for family reasons are much lower than numbers of visas issued. The Before Entry and Settlement sections of the User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics include a discussion on the differences between the various data sources presented on immigration for family reasons.

For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics, see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide.

The User Guide provides further details on the topics relating to family including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being estimated from samples or based on data sourced from an administrative database.

All data for 2012 and 2013 are provisional (2012 IPS data are final).

Figures for immigration in this briefing are estimates and are rounded to the nearest thousand.

Information on numbers of non-EEA family members of EEA nationals who exercise rights to stay in the country is available in the ‘European Economic Area’ topic.

7. Before Entry

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

7.1 Introduction

The figures in this section relate to applications for and issue of entry clearance visas and passengers refused entry at ports.

7.2 Key facts

There were 501,840 visas issued in the year ending June 2013, excluding visitor and transit visas. This was 4% lower than the year ending June 2012 (520,073), but slightly up on the year ending March 2013 (499,641). There was also a corresponding 1% fall in applications (from 582,662 to 574,105).

There were falls in the number of visas issued for work (-2% to 144,554), study (excluding student visitors, -5% to 204,469) and family reasons (-24% to 34,201), as well as to dependants joining or accompanying (-9% to 11,671) in the year ending June 2013. There were corresponding falls in the number of visa applications (-3% for work, -1% for study, -19% for family reasons and -10% from dependants joining or accompanying). Falls in the number of visas issued for work, study and family-reasons are consistent with policy changes related to these routes of entry which began to come into effect from the end of 2010.

In contrast to the fall in study visas, there was a 5% increase (+3,506) in student visitor visas issued in the year ending June 2013 to 72,496 (corresponding to a 7% increase in applications). Student visitor visas are issued for short-term study (typically for 6 months) and cannot be extended. The nationalities accounting for the 3,506 increase differ from those accounting for the fall in study (excluding student visitor) visas.

The number of passengers refused entry at port rose slightly to 15,936 in the year ending June 2013 compared with the year ending June 2012 (15,850). This very small increase (+½%) followed previous falls from the year ending December 2004 (38,391) onwards.

Visas issued by reason

  Total issued (1) Work Study Student visitors (2) Family Dependant joining / accompanying Other
Year ending June 2008 569,849 182,249 213,449 36,960 58,161 46,727 32,303
Year ending June 2009 550,634 175,758 227,873 39,998 49,455 27,007 30,543
Year ending June 2010 616,650 154,615 320,183 41,859 51,405 15,407 33,181
Year ending June 2011 616,413 158,261 304,568 55,082 50,186 15,001 33,315
Year ending June 2012 520,073 147,377 214,219 68,990 45,281 12,782 31,424
Year ending June 2013 501,840 144,554 204,469 72,496 34,201 11,671 34,449
Change: latest year -18,233 -2,823 -9,750 +3,506 -11,080 -1,111 +3,025
Percentage change -4% -2% -5% +5% -24% -9% +10%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Before entry table be 04 q.
(1) Figures exclude visitor and transit visas.
(2) Student visitors are allowed to come to the UK for 6 months (or 11 months if they will be studying an English Language course) and cannot extend their stay. The data include those who applied on the ‘Short-term student’ endorsement prior to the introduction of the student visitor category in September 2007. For consistency and comparability over time student visitor visas have been excluded from study-related totals. For further discussion of study and student visitors see the ‘study’ section.

The chart shows the number of entry clearance visas issued, excluding visitor and transit visas, between 2005 and the latest rolling year available. The data are available in Table be 04 q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, based on data in Before entry table be 04 q.
(1) The student visitor category was introduced in September 2007. Student visitors are allowed to come to the UK for 6 months (or 11 months if they will be studying an English Language course) and cannot extend their stay. The data includes those who applied on the ‘Short-term student’ endorsement prior to the introduction of the student visitor category. For consistency and comparability over time student visitor visas have been excluded from study-related totals. For further discussion of study and student visitors see the ‘study’ section.

Detailed briefing on the trends of visas issued for work, study or family reasons (together with dependants joining/accompanying) are available in the ‘Work’, ‘Study’ and ‘Family’ sections.

7.3 Visas issued by reason

The number of work-related visas issued fell until the year ending March 2013 (141,772) and rose slightly (to 144,554) in the year ending June 2013. In the year ending June 2013, study visas issued were at the lowest level since 2006 and visas issued for family-reasons and to dependants joining/accompanying were at their lowest recorded level using comparable data from 2005 onwards.

The 9,750 (-5%) fall in visas issued for study (excluding student visitors) included falls of 8,457 (-54%) and 7,927 (-35%) for Pakistani and Indian nationals respectively. The largest numeric increases were for Libyan (up more than three-fold from 647 to 2,441 or +277%) and Chinese nationals (from 55,998 to 57,535 or 3%).

Within the 3,506 (+5%) increase in visas issued for student visitors, there were increases from 499 to 2,395 for nationals of Libya and from 757 to 1,326 for nationals of Oman for the year ending June 2013.

The rise in the number of study and student visas issued to Libyans is consistent with a return to previous levels, following civil unrest in Libya. In the year ending June 2013 visas issued to Libyan nationals represented 1% and 3% respectively of all study (excluding student visitors) and student visitors issued respectively.

For those issued visas for family reasons, the largest falls were for nationals of the United States (-1,242, -46%), Nepal (-1,030, -37%) and Pakistan (-966, -14%).

7.4 Visas issued by nationality

There were 501,840 visas issued in the year ending June 2013, excluding visitor and transit visas, 18,233 lower than the year ending June 2012 (520,073). This included falls for Pakistan (-10,448 or -32%), India (-6,869 or -8%) and Nigeria ( 1,968 or -10%) and an increase for Libya (+3,776 or more than triple). The increase for Libyans suggests visas issued to these nationals are starting to return to levels seen prior to the start of civil unrest in the country.

Over half (53% or 263,893) of the 501,840 visas issued in the year ending June 2013 were to Asian nationals with a further 62,901 (13%) and 58,089 (12%) issued to nationals of the Americas and Africa respectively. Indian nationals were issued the highest number of visas in the year ending June 2013 (75,920, 15%), followed by nationals of China (73,820, 15%) and the United States (35,015, 7%).

From the year ending September 2009 onwards, those of Asian nationality have accounted for over half of visas issued, excluding visitor and transit visas. Fluctuations in the total number of visas issued have been largely accounted for by Asian nationals over the period.

The chart shows the number of entry clearance visas issued, excluding visitor and transit visas, between 2005 and the latest rolling year available. The data are available in Tables be 06 q and be 06 q o.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Before entry table be 06 q to be 06 q o.
(1) A small number (1,000 to 2,000 per year excluding visitor and transit visas) of Home Office visas cannot be ascribed to a world area and are categorised as ‘Other’. This category does not appear in the above chart.
(2) European Economic Area (EEA) nationals do not require a visa to enter the UK. However, some EEA nationals do apply and are issued with visas.

7.5 Data tables

Further data on entry clearance visas and passengers refused entry at port can be found in Before Entry vol. 2: Tables be 01 q to be 08 q.

Before Entry vol. 1: Tables cs 01 to cs 10q provides data on sponsored visa applications for the work and study routes (described further in the Work and Study topics).

7.6 About these figures

Before travelling to the UK, a person may be required to apply for and be issued with an entry clearance visa, depending on their nationality, purpose of visit and intended length of stay. On arrival at UK ports, or UK border controls in France and Belgium (often termed ‘juxtaposed’ controls), all individuals have to satisfy a Border Force officer that they have the right to enter the country before being admitted to the UK.

Passengers refused entry relates to non-asylum cases dealt with at ports of entry.

The User Guide to Home Office Migration Statistics provides further details on this topic including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being based on data sourced from an administrative database. For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide.

The student visitor category was introduced in 2007 and may include individuals previously recorded as visitors; for consistency and comparability over time they have been excluded from study-related totals. For further discussion of study and student visitors see the study section.

The data in this section include dependants and exclude those visiting the UK or in transit, unless stated otherwise.

Data for visas prior to 2005 are not comparable. All figures for 2012 and 2013 are provisional.

Information on passengers refused entry and subsequently removed are available in the ‘Removals and voluntary departures’ topic.

The Before Entry section of the User Guide includes a discussion on the differences between entry clearance visas and other data sources including: passenger arrivals; long-term international migration estimates of immigration published by the Office for National Statistics; and differences between appeals on visa decisions published by the Home Office and the HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

Data on migration applications decided within published standards and the cost per decision for all permanent and temporary migration applications are published as Official Statistics by Home Office as part of their key input and impact indicators, ‘Our performance’.

8. Admissions

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

8.1 Introduction

The figures in this section relate to the number of journeys made by people entering the UK. Where an individual enters the country more than once, each arrival is counted. For non-EEA nationals who are subject to immigration control, more detailed information is available on the purpose of their journey and nationality.

8.2 Key facts

There were 108.2 million journeys in the year ending June 2013, a 2% (+1.7 million) rise compared to the previous 12 months. However, this latest figure included a fall in the third quarter total for 2012 (33.8 million compared with 34.0 million in the third quarter of 2011) which reflected fewer passengers arriving during the staging of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games which both opened during this quarter.

The 1.7 million increase in journeys in the year ending June 2013 included an increase of 1.9 million journeys by British, other EEA and Swiss nationals (to 95.2 million); by contrast, there were 0.2 million fewer journeys by non-EEA nationals (falling to 13.0 million).

For non-EEA nationals there were 12.9 million journeys in 2012, 3% (-0.4 million) less than in 2011. There were falls for the work (-4% or -6,160), study (-21% or -56,100) and family (-15% or -4,990) categories, which may reflect policy changes for the work and study routes which came into effect during 2011, and a 3% (-0.2 million) fall for visitors. There was a 14% (+37,100) increase for student visitors.

Admissions by purpose of journey – non-EEA nationals

  Total admissions Work Study Student visitors(1) Family Visitors Other
2008 12.6 million 183,000 248,000 140,000 45,400 7.0 million 5.0 million
2009 12.3 million 161,000 291,000 198,000 36,600 6.9 million 4.8 million
2010 12.5 million 163,000 296,000 240,000 37,400 7.0 million 4.7 million
2011 13.3 million 149,000 267,000 262,000 32,300 7.9 million 4.7 million
2012 12.9 million 142,000 211,000 299,000 27,300 7.7 million 4.5 million
Change: latest year -0.4 million -6,160 -56,100 +37,100 -4,990 -0.2 million -0.2 million
Percentage change -3% -4% -21% +14% -15% -3% -4%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Admissions table ad 02 q.
(1) Student visitors are allowed to come to the UK for 6 months (or 11 months if they will be studying an English Language course) and cannot extend their stay. The student visitor category was introduced in 2007 and may include individuals previously recorded as visitors, so for consistency and comparability over time they have been excluded from study-related totals. For further discussion of study and student visitors see the study section.

The chart shows the total number of journeys made into the UK by broad nationality between 2004 and the latest calendar year available. The data are available in Table ad 01.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Admissions table ad 01.

8.4 Non-EEA nationalities admitted to the UK, 2012

United States nationals accounted for more than a quarter (28%) of the 12.9 million journeys by non-EEA nationalities into the UK. The top 10 nationalities accounted for 69% of all journeys made.

Top 10 nationalities admitted, 2012

(Total number of admissions 12.9 million)

The chart shows admissions by nationality in 2012. The chart is based on data in Table ad 03.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Admissions table ad 03.

8.5 Data tables

Further data on admissions are available in Admissions tables ad 01 to ad 03.

8.6 About the figures

All people admitted are subject to immigration control except British, other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals.

Most data in this briefing are rounded to three significant figures. All data include dependants.

For arriving passengers subject to immigration control, who have previously obtained leave to enter, the journey is recorded as ‘returning after a temporary absence abroad’. Due to the volume of passengers arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick some data are estimated from monthly samples.

Some major components of the total (visitors, passengers returning and passengers in transit) reflect, to a large extent, trends in international tourism. The number of other admissions (for example, for work, study or family reasons) are likely to reflect trends in international migration and related policy and legislative changes affecting those subject to immigration control, for example changes in immigration legislation, enlargement of the European Union, and the introduction of the points-based system for work and study in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Total passenger arrival data are available up to the year ending June 2013 (Table ad 01 q); data on the purpose of journey (e.g. visit, work, study) are available up to the end of 2012 (Table ad 02 q); and data for individual nationalities are available up to the end of 2012 (Table ad 03).

The User Guide to Immigration Statistics provides further details on this topic including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being estimated from samples. For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide.

The Admissions section of the User Guide includes a discussion on the differences between passenger arrivals and long-term international migration estimates of immigration published by the Office for National Statistics. A comparison between passenger arrivals and entry clearance visas is provided in the Before Entry section.

Further briefing on those arriving who are not subject to immigration control is available in the ‘EEA’ section.

Further information on visitors to the UK is published by the Office for National Statistics in ‘Overseas Travel and Tourism– May 2013’.

Historical data on travel trends from 1980 to 2012 were published in ONS’s bulletin ‘Travel trends 2011’.

Data on the clearance of passengers at the border within published standards and the cost of passengers cleared at the border are published as official statistics by the Home Office as part of their key input and impact indicators, ‘Our performance’.

9. Asylum

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

9.1 Introduction

This section covers asylum applications, initial decisions, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASCs), age disputes, support, resettlement and international comparisons.

9.2 Key facts

In the year ending June 2013, there were 23,499 asylum applications, a rise of 3,503 (+18%) compared with the previous 12 months. This follows an increase of 6% from the previous year. The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132), and similar to levels seen since 2006. This increase in the latest year is driven by rises in applications from a number of nationalities, particularly nationals of Syria (+748), Pakistan (+685), Albania (+504), India (+382), and Bangladesh (+282).

The number of initial decisions on asylum applications has increased by 13% (+2,152) to 18,796 in the year ending June 2013 compared with the previous 12 months. The rise is driven by increases in the first and second quarter of 2013 and coincides with the continued increase in the number of applications from Syria since the outbreak of civil war.

The proportion of initial decisions that are grants of asylum, a form of temporary protection or other type of grant has increased to 38% (7,106) in the year ending June 2013, the highest proportion in the current series of published data available from 2001. The increase has been driven by increases in grants of asylum. In the year ending June 2013 there were 6,198 grants of asylum, the highest since the year ending June 2003.

At the end of June 2013, 14,589 of the applications received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review), 23% more than at the end June 2012.

Asylum applications and initial decisions for main applicants

  Total applications Initial decisions Granted (1) Refused
Year ending June 2010 18,719 23,924 5,545 (23%) 18,379 (77%)
Year ending June 2011 18,823 18,935 5,365 (28%) 13,570 (72%)
Year ending June 2012 19,996 16,644 5,803 (35%) 10,841 (65%)
Year ending June 2013 23,499 18,796 7,106 (38%) 11,690 (62%)
Change: on latest year +3,503 +2,152 +1,303 +849
Percentage change +18% +13% +22% +8%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Asylum table as 01.
(1) Granted includes grants of asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, leave to remain under family life or private life rules, leave outside the rules and UASC leave.

Initial decisions do not necessarily relate to applications made in the same period and exclude the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.

The chart below shows the annual number of asylum applications made since 2001.

The chart shows the number of asylum applications made between 2001 and the latest calendar year. The data are available in Table as 01.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Asylum table as 01.
(1) A process preventing certain nationalities from appealing a decision while in the country (non-suspensive appeals process) was introduced in 2002.
(2) Full overseas immigration controls operated by UK immigration officers (juxtaposed controls) were opened in France and Belgium in 2002 and 2004.
(3) Fast-track facilities for asylum applications were introduced in 2003.

Applications for asylum rose 10% in 2012 (21,843) compared with 2011 (19,865). The annual number of applications remains low relative to the peak in 2002.

Falls in asylum applications since 2002 coincide with: the introduction of a process preventing certain nationalities from appealing a decision while in the country in 2002; the opening of UK border controls (often termed ‘juxtaposed’ controls) in France and Belgium in 2002 and 2004 respectively; and the introduction of fast-track facilities for asylum applications in 2003.

Most applications are made by those already in the country (88% of applications in 2012) rather than by people arriving at port. The proportion of applications made at port has decreased since 2001 when 35% of asylum applications were made there. This decrease coincides with the opening of UK border controls (often termed ‘juxtaposed’ controls) in France and Belgium in 2002 and 2004 respectively.

Applicants tend to be young and male. Of applicants in 2012, over half (57%) were between the ages of 18 and 39, and 72% were male.

9.4 Nationalities applying for asylum

The highest number of applications in the year ending June 2013 were from nationals of Pakistan (3,524), which also saw the second highest increase in applications since the year ending June 2012 (+685 or +24%). Syria saw the largest increase in applications compared with the previous 12-month period (from 610 to 1,358), although it remains fourth for overall numbers of asylum applications.

World events have an effect on which nationals are applying for asylum at any particular time. For example, there has been a large increase in the number of applicants from Syria since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2012. Political unrest in Libya in 2011 coincided with a substantial increase in asylum applications from Libyan nationals (722 applications in 2011 compared to 90 in 2010), although numbers of applications fell during 2012 to 218 and remains at similar levels, reflecting a more stable situation in the country.

Top 10 nationalities applying for asylum, year ending June 2013

(Total number of applications 23,499)

Top 10 nationalities applying for asylum, year ending June 2013. Data can be found in asylum table as 01 q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Asylum table as 01 q.

Final outcome of asylum applications, by year of application

Final outcome of asylum applications, by year of application. Data can be found in asylum table as 06.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Asylum table as 06.
(1) Due to the large variety of routes that an asylum application can take to a final asylum outcome, the final outcome of a small percentage of asylum applications requires interpretation. Therefore these proportions and the underlying figures on final outcomes, available in Table as 06, are estimated.

Following through the 21,843 main applicants who applied for asylum in 2012, an estimated 7,514 (34%) had been granted asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or other type of grant at either initial decision or appeal; 9,691 (44%) cases had been refused and a further 4,638 (21%) were awaiting confirmation of an initial decision or appeal in May 2013. However the proportions granted or refused are subject to change as the 4,638 applications with a decision not currently known are processed. The overall proportion of applications either granted asylum or a form of temporary protection at initial decision or having an appeal allowed was estimated to be 26% in 2004. Year on year the proportion gradually increased to a peak of 41% in 2011. This is accounted for in part by increased contributions of grants to individuals from Iran, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but offset by decreased contributions to grants to nationals of Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.

9.5 Applications pending

At the end of June 2013, 14,589 of the applications received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review), 23% more than at the end June 2012. The increase is mainly accounted for by an increase in the number pending an initial decision (+37%), which coincides with increasing numbers of applications; the numbers pending further review increased by 2%.

9.6 Asylum appeals

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service received 8,741 asylum appeals from main applicants in the year ending June 2013. This is similar to the year ending June 2012 (8,733), and remains well below the peak in the number of appeals for the year ending June 2010 (16,560) using comparable data available from 2007.

In the year ending June 2013, the proportion of appeals dismissed was 66%, while 25% of appeals were allowed.

Asylum appeals received and determined for main applicants

  Appeals received Total appeals determined Allowed Dismissed Withdrawn
Year ending June 2010 16,560 16,032 4,678 (29%) 10,746(67%) 608 (4%)
Year ending June 2011 11,991 12,539 3,362 (27%) 8,495(68%) 682 (5%)
Year ending June 2012 8,733 9,130 2,424 (27%) 6,132 (67%) 574 (6%)
Year ending June 2013 8,741 8,101 2,052 (25%) 5,385 (66%) 664 (8%)
Change on latest year +8 -1,029 -372 -747 +90
Percentage change 0% -11% -15% -12% +16%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Asylum table as 14 q.

Data from the Home Office sources are currently only available back to 2007, but data published by the HM Courts and Tribunals Service suggest that 2010 saw the most cases determined since 2005.

9.7 Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

In 2012 there were 1,125 asylum applications from Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASCs), 5% of all main applicants. Overall, 83% (936) UASC applicants were male. Earlier data are not available for direct comparison. ‘Changes to the topic briefings and charts’ within the ‘About this release’ section of this release provides information on the impact of the change in the method for counting UASCs.

There were 528 asylum applications from UASCs for the first half of 2013, an increase of 4% from the first half of 2012 (507). In the first half of 2012, just over two fifths of UASC applications were accounted for by male nationals of Afghanistan (22%) and male nationals of Albania (20%); by the first half of 2013, male Afghan nationals accounted for 13%, while 35% were males from Albania.

A total of 681 initial decisions were made on applications from UASCs in 2012. Of these, 13% (87) were asylum seekers aged 18 or over when the decision was made. 85% of under 18s and 39% of those 18 or over were given a grant of asylum, a form of temporary protection, or other type of grant.

There were 685 initial decisions for UASCs in the first half of 2013; more than in the whole of 2012 and 72% higher than the first half of 2012 (399). Overall, the proportions of decisions that were grants in each 6-month period were similar; 78% of decisions in the first half of 2012 and 74% in 2013. However, there was a decrease in the proportion being granted for Albanian nationals, the top nationality for decisions, from 76% (62 of 82 decisions) to 66% (129 out of 196).

9.8 Age disputes

The Home Office disputes the age of some asylum applicants who claim to be children. In 2012, 337 individuals had their age disputed, of which 24% (82) were Afghan nationals, 15% (50) were Albanian and 14% (47) were Vietnamese.

467 individuals are recorded as having an age assessment completed in 2012, of whom 48% have a date of birth making them under 18 when the age dispute was raised.

9.9 Dependants

In 2012, the 21,843 asylum applications received accounted for 27,978 individuals when dependants were included. This is an average of 1 dependant for every 4 main applicants. Comparing the 10 nationalities with the highest number of main applicants in 2012, the ratios of dependants to main applicants ranges from 1 dependant for every 18 main applicants for nationals of Eritrea to 1 dependant for every 2 main applicants from Nigeria and Pakistan.

In 2012 5,085 initial decisions were made relating to dependants. Of these 1,407 (28%) were granted asylum, 331 (7%) were granted a form of temporary protection or other type of grant, and 3,347 (66%) were refused. The proportion refused asylum was higher than main applicants in 2012 (64%), although lower than the proportion for dependants in 2011 (72%).

9.10 Support

The method for processing figures for asylum support has changed for this publication. Figures from the first quarter of 2013 have been produced using a new method, which allows Home Office Statistics better access to the data for data quality purposes and improved reconciliation with administrative records. The data source for both new and previous methods remains the same.

Caution should be taken when comparing earlier data with figures from the first quarter of 2013 onwards, as the figures are not directly comparable.

At the end of June 2013, 21,423 asylum seekers were being supported under Section 95. Previously published figures show that there were 80,123 asylum seekers in receipt of Section 95 in December 2003 (the start of the published data series). Figures include dependants.

The number of failed asylum seekers and their dependants receiving support (under Section 4) at the end of June 2013 was 4,472. According to previously published figures, failed asylum seekers receiving support peaked at the end of September 2009 (12,019).

The overall falls in support applications and numbers receiving support are generally in line with the falling numbers of asylum applications and the clearance of a backlog of asylum cases from the early part of the century.

9.11 Resettlement

In addition to those asylum seekers who apply in the UK, resettlement schemes are offered to those who have been referred to the Home Office by UNHCR (the UN agency for refugees).

In 2012, a total of 1,039 refugees were resettled in the UK through this process, higher than any previous year. This is more than double the previous year and is due to the scheduling of most arrivals within the operating year of April 2011 to March 2012, in the last quarter of the financial year (January to March 2012).

9.12 International comparisons

Including dependants, the estimated total number of asylum applications to the EU was 312,400 in 2012. The total number of asylum applications across the EU increased from 284,800 in 2011 and was the highest since 2003.

Top 10 EU countries receiving asylum applications, 2012 (including dependants)

(Total number of applications 312,400)

The chart shows the top 10 countries receiving asylum applications in 2012. The data are available in Table as 07.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Asylum table as 07.
Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

The UK had the fourth highest number of asylum applications to the EU in 2012. This is an increase from sixth highest in 2011 and fifth highest in 2010 but a drop from 2009 when the UK was second highest. In 2012 Germany, France and Sweden had more asylum applicants than the UK.

With the relative size of resident populations of the 27 EU countries taken into account, the UK ranked 13th in terms of asylum seekers per head of the population in 2012, compared with 14th in 2011.

9.13 Data tables

Data referred to here can be found in the following tables:

9.14 About the figures

Figures for ‘Other types of grant’ include: grants under family and private life rules, which relate to the introduction of a new approach to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, from 9 July 2012; Leave Outside the Rules, which was introduced for those refused asylum from 1 April 2013; and UASC leave, which was introduced for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children refused asylum but eligible for temporary leave from 1 April 2013.

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) (formerly Tribunals Service Immigration and Asylum and the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT)), an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice, hears and decides appeals against decisions made by the Home Office. It consists of the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber and Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber (FTTIAC and UTIAC). The First-tier Tribunal Judge will decide whether the appeal against the decision is successful or not (this is known as the decision being ‘allowed’ or ‘dismissed’).

An unaccompanied asylum-seeking child (UASC) is a person under 18, applying for asylum in his or her own right, who is separated from both parents and is not being cared for by an adult who by law has responsibility to do so.

As asylum seekers are not normally allowed to work for the first year while their application is being considered, support is available (known as Section 95 support). This may be provided as both accommodation and subsistence or subsistence only. Failed asylum seekers who are not eligible for support under Section 95, but are homeless and have reasons that temporarily prevent them from leaving, may be eligible for support (called Section 4 support).

The User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics provides further details on this topic including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being based on data sourced from an administrative database. For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide. The User Guide also provides a discussion on the differences between the definition of asylum applications used in this release compared to Eurostat (the European statistical organisation), as well as the definition of asylum appeals used in this release compared to asylum appeals published by the HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

This briefing excludes numbers of dependants, unless stated otherwise. One person (the main applicant) can apply for asylum on behalf of themselves and others (dependants).

All data, except data on asylum support, for 2012 and 2013 are provisional.

Numbers of asylum applicants removed are available in the ‘Removals and voluntary departures’ topic.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum performance framework measures and the size of the controlled archive, Our performance.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) publishes a report entitled ‘Asylum Trends in Industrialised Countries’ which includes an international comparison of the number of asylum applications.

10. Extensions of stay

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

10.1 Introduction

The figures in this section relate to the number of people, subject to immigration control, who are granted or refused permission to extend their stay in the UK. An individual may make more than one application in any given year.

10.2 Key facts

There was an increase of 8% (+21,136) in the total number of grants of extensions in the year ending June 2013 (291,953) compared with the previous 12 months. This followed annual falls over the previous three years, from 361,211 in the year ending June 2009 to 270,817 in the year ending June 2012.

Work-related grants of extensions (145,855) were 9% (+11,687) higher in the year ending June 2013. This included an increase in grants for Tier 2 Skilled Workers, reflecting shorter visas granted for such workers from 2008. Further information is given in the detailed section below.

Study-related grants of extensions increased by 8% (+7,220) to 100,507 but were still lower than the previous three years.

Family-related grants of extensions rose by 89% (+14,507) to 30,899. Of the 14,507 increase, 10,256 are due to grants in the new Family Life (10-year) category, which would previously have been considered for Discretionary Leave and counted within “other” rather than as being family-related. Correspondingly grants in other categories, which includes grants for discretionary leave, fell by 46% (-12,278) to 14,692.

Changes to the Points Based System, including closures of the Tier 1 General and Tier 1 Post Study routes to new applicants, and the introduction of the new Family Life (10-year) route, have affected the numbers of extensions granted and refused. Further information is given the detailed section below and in the article ‘Extensions of stay by previous category’.

Grants to extend stay by reason, and refusals

  Total decisions Total grants Work Study Family Other Total refusals
Year ending June 2009 399,722 361,211 199,248 123,882 24,166 13,915 38,511
Year ending June 2010 387,800 321,969 145,032 134,625 22,911 19,401 65,831
Year ending June 2011 361,609 304,308 125,203 135,947 18,463 24,695 57,301
Year ending June 2012 308,785 270,817 134,168 93,287 16,392 26,970 37,968
Year ending June 2013 352,684 291,953 145,855 100,507 30,899 14,692 60,731
Change: latest 12 months +43,899 +21,136 +11,687 +7,220 +14,507 -12,278 +22,763
Percentage change +14% +8% +9% +8% +89% -46% +60%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Extension to stay table ex 01 q.

10.3 Grants of extension for work

There were 145,855 work-related grants of extensions in the year ending June 2013, 9% higher than the previous 12 months but still lower than in the year ending June 2009 (199,248).

Grants to Tier 1 High Value individuals for work fell from 85,036 to 72,649 (-15%) in the year ending June 2013. This was more than accounted for by a fall in grants in the Post-Study work route, which was down from 46,841 to 16,730 with the figure for the first half of 2013 falling to 605 compared with 24,585 in the first half of 2012. This was partly offset by a rise in grants in the Tier 1 General route (from 36,649 to 51,473). Additional analysis in the ‘Extensions of stay by previous category’ article shows that most (97%) of the grants of extension in Tier 1 General in 2012 were to individuals already in this route.

The Post-Study work route was closed to new applications on 6 April 2012 but existing applications continue to be processed after this date. Individuals who have graduated after studying in the UK can stay under other immigration routes if they meet the criteria. Tier 1 General was closed to applicants who are outside the UK in December 2010 and to migrants who were already in the UK, in most immigration categories, in April 2011.

There was a 55% increase in grants of extensions for Tier 2 Skilled Workers (from 38,926 to 60,384) in the year ending June 2013 which is likely to relate to policy changes in 2008 following the introduction of the Points Based System (PBS). Prior to 2008, skilled workers (Tier 2 equivalents) were able to obtain visas of up to 5 years which could be followed by applications for settlement, without an individual needing to apply for an extension. From the introduction of the PBS in 2008, the maximum visa length for skilled workers was 3 years and individuals who wanted to stay for longer (and to potentially qualify for settlement) needed an extension. Additional analysis of the previous category of individuals granted an extension in the Tier 2 Skilled Workers route in 2011 and 2012 is given in the article ‘Extensions of stay by previous category’ and supports this explanation of the increase in Tier 2 extensions.

10.4 Grants of extension for study

Study-related grants of extensions rose by 8% (+7,220) to 100,507. This follows a large fall from 135,947 in the year ending June 2011 to 93,287 in the year ending June 2012. The study-related grants of extensions include 118 grants under the new Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme, ‘Applying from inside the UK’, introduced on 6 April 2013.

10.5 Grants of extension for family reasons

Family-related grants of extensions rose by 89% (+14,507) to 30,899 in the year ending June 2013, after falling in each of the previous three years. Of the 14,507 increase, 10,256 are due to grants in the new Family Life (10-year) category which would previously have been considered for Discretionary Leave and counted within “other” rather than as being family-related.

The introduction of the new Family Life (10-year) route, ‘Statement of intent: family migration’ means that the total numbers of family grants are not fully comparable over time and, since 9 July 2012, follows a new approach to people seeking to remain in the UK on the basis of their right to a family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Applicants must satisfy new requirements set out in the amended Immigration Rules.

The remainder of the increase in family-related grants of extensions was accounted for by higher numbers of grants to spouses from 16,278 to 20,530, showing signs of a return to recent levels of extensions but still much lower than 2008 (27,094).

Nearly half (46%) of the 20,530 grants of extensions to spouses during the year ending June 2013 were made in the first quarter of 2013. This may reflect additional resource deployed to decision-making at the beginning of 2013.

10.6 Grants of extension for other reasons

Grants in other categories fell by 46% (-12,278) to 14,692, mainly reflecting a fall in discretionary leave grants which is partly a result of the new approach to those seeking to remain in the UK on the basis of their right to private or family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights from 9 July 2012 referred to above.

10.7 Refusals of extension by category

There was a sharp increase in Tier 1 refusals of an extension from 3,799 to 11,290 in the year ending June 2013 mainly due to an increase in refusals to Tier 1 Entrepreneurs (from 314 to 7,140). This follows the introduction of a credibility test for entrepreneurs and a change to the Immigration Rules, ‘Changes to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route’ that requires the necessary minimum funds to be held, or invested in the business, on an ongoing basis rather than solely at the time of application.

The remainder of the 11,290 Tier 1 refusals of an extension were accounted for by 2,670 refusals in Tier 1 Post Study and 1,433 in Tier 1 General categories.

Refusals of a family-related extension rose from 1,822 in the year ending June 2012 to 8,397 in the year ending June 2013. This was accounted for by an increase in refusals to spouses (from 1,790 to 5,903) and refusals under the new Family Life (10-year) route (2,483 in the year ending June 2013).

The remainder of the 22,763 increase in refusals, shown in the table above, was accounted for by increases for the “other” category (from 12,084 to 23,158). These are thought likely to relate to refusals of discretionary leave.

The chart below illustrates longer-term trends in grants to extend stay by calendar year.

The chart shows grants and refusals of an extension of stay between 2005 and the latest calendar year. The chart is based on data in Table ex 01.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Extensions to stay table ex 01.

10.9 Nationalities granted an extension (excludes dependants)

Of the total 197,377 grants of an extension of stay in 2012, 69% (135,334) were to Asian nationals and 14% (27,183) were to African nationals.

Top 10 nationalities granted an extension to stay, 2012

(Total number of grants 197,377, excludes dependants)

The chart shows grants of extension of stay by nationality in 2012. The chart is based on data in Table ex 02.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Extensions to stay table ex 02.

10.10 Data tables

Further data on extensions are available in Extensions to stay tables ex 01 to ex 02.

10.11 About the figures

EEA nationals are not subject to immigration control so are not included in these figures. When a country joins the EU its nationals are no longer included in these figures e.g. Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are not included from 2007 onwards.

Information on the changes to the student and high value work routes from April 2011 and to the family route from July 2012 are provided in the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline. Further details are available from:

The data in this briefing include dependants, except where stated otherwise, and take account of the outcomes of reconsiderations and appeals. All figures for 2012 and 2013 are provisional.

The numbers of applications and decisions made reflect changes over time in levels of immigration, as well as policy and legislative changes, including changes to immigration legislation. The availability and allocation of resources within Home Office can also affect the number of decisions.

The User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics provides further details on this topic including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being based on data sourced from an administrative database.

Data on migration applications decided within published standards, the cost per decision for all permanent and temporary migration applications and the size of the controlled archive are published as Official Statistics by the Home Office as part of their performance data. Details, including an explanation of what the controlled archive contains, are given on the UKBA website, ‘Our performance’.

A short statistical article on ‘Extensions of stay by previous category’ has also been published alongside the Immigration Statistics April-June 2013 release to provide further detailed information.

11. Settlement

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

11.1 Introduction

The figures in this section relate to the number of people, subject to immigration control, who are granted or refused permission to stay permanently in the UK, known as settlement.

11.2 Key facts

In the year ending June 2013, the number of people granted permission to stay permanently increased by 9% (+12,147) to 153,058 although still significantly lower than the year ending June 2010 (226,084). The 12,147 increase was accounted for by rises in family-related grants (+11,769), asylum-related (+7,893), and discretionary or other grants (+493) partly offset by a fall in work-related grants (-8,008).

Family-related grants to stay permanently rose by 24% to 60,079 although they were still lower than the peak of 75,852 in the year ending March 2010.

Work-related grants to stay permanently fell 12% to 60,959, following earlier falls from 92,176 in the year ending June 2010.

Asylum-related grants to stay permanently rose by 63% to 20,387. The lower levels in the years ending June 2009 to 2011 reflect a rule change in August 2005 that effectively delayed grants of settlement for some people. This rule change meant that people given refugee status no longer receive a settlement grant immediately, and instead they have been given 5 years’ temporary permission to stay.

Grants to stay permanently on a discretionary or other basis rose by 4% to 11,633. The high number of grants in earlier years mainly resulted from a review of the backlog of cases from before March 2007 involving unsuccessful asylum applicants.

Grants to stay permanently by reason, and refusals

  Total decisions Total grants Work Asylum-related Family Discretionary or Other Refusals
Year ending June 2009 172,536 163,660 67,597 3,252 63,898 28,913 8,876
Year ending June 2010 239,426 226,084 92,176 2,813 73,830 57,265 13,342
Year ending June 2011 220,047 209,761 69,563 9,636 58,822 71,740 10,286
Year ending June 2012 146,401 140,911 68,967 12,494 48,310 11,140 5,490
Year ending June 2013 158,729 153,058 60,959 20,387 60,079 11,633 5,671
Change: latest 12 months +12,328 +12,147 -8,008 +7,893 +11,769 +493 +181
Percentage change +8% +9% -12% +63% +24% +4% +3%

Table note

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Settlement table se 02 q.

The chart below illustrates longer-term trends in grants to stay permanently for the calendar years back to 2001.

The chart shows the number of people granted settlement by calendar year from 2001. The data are available in Table  se 02.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Settlement table se 02.

The increase from 2001 to 2005 was mainly due to increases in work and asylum-related grants, which then fell back in 2006 and 2007, reflecting changes to rules on how quickly those with refugee status or humanitarian protection were granted settlement, and how quickly individuals qualified for work-related settlement. The higher levels in 2009 and 2010 were due to grants given on a discretionary or other basis resulting from a review of the backlog of cases involving unsuccessful asylum applicants, and the falls in 2011 and 2012 follow the completion of the review.

11.3 Nationalities granted permission to stay permanently

Of the total 129,749 grants in 2012, over half (54% or 70,612) were to Asian nationals and nearly a quarter (24% or 30,826) were to African nationals.

Top 10 nationalities granted permission to stay permanently, 2012

(Total 129,749)

The chart shows grants of settlement by nationality in 2012. The chart is based on data in Table se 03.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Settlement table se 03.

11.4 Data tables

Further data on settlement are available in Settlement tables se 01 to se 06.

11.5 About the figures

EEA nationals are not subject to immigration control and so are not included in these figures. When a country joins the EU its nationals are no longer in these figures e.g. Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are not included from 2007 onwards.

The numbers of applications and decisions about permission to stay permanently reflect changes over time in levels of those entering the country, as well as policy and legislative changes. These may affect the number of people potentially eligible to stay permanently. The availability and allocation of resources within the Home Office can also affect the number of decisions.

The User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics provides further details on this topic including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being based on data sourced from an administrative database. It also includes a discussion of the differences between the grants of permission to stay permanently and long-term international migration estimates of immigration published by ONS. For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics, see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide.

All the figures include spouses and dependants, unless stated otherwise. All data for 2012 and 2013 are provisional.

From 2003 onwards, dependants of EEA and Swiss nationals in confirmed relationships may be shown separately in figures on issues and refusals of permanent residence documents, rather than in figures about settlement. Figures on issues and refusals of permanent residence documentation to EEA nationals and their family members are shown in EEA table ee 02 in the ‘European Economic Area’ topic.

Data on migration applications decided within published standards, the cost per decision for all permanent and temporary migration applications and the size of the controlled archive are published as Official Statistics by the Home Office as part of their immigration performance data. Details, including an explanation of what the controlled archive contains, are given on the ‘Our Performance’ webpage.

Migrant journey analysis is able to look at those who apply for settlement or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and which visas they used to arrive at that point. This analysis shows that the proportion of settlement grants made to people who initially arrived on a temporary visa rose between 2009 and 2011. For example, those originally entering the UK on a student visa comprised 13% of settlement grants in 2009 and 16% in 2011. Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey Third Report.

12. Citizenship

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

12.1 Introduction

The figures in this section relate to the number of people who are granted or refused British citizenship.

12.2 Key facts

There were 14% more decisions (to 212,188) and 14% more people granted British citizenship (to 204,541) in the year to June 2013 than in the previous 12 months. These increases may reflect greater resource used for decision-making as there was a 3% fall in applications (to 186,420) over the same period. The fall in applications may in turn reflect the falls in recent years in grants of permission to stay permanently, known as settlement.

The increase in grants of British citizenship (+24,844) was largely accounted for by higher numbers of people granted on the basis of residence, (up 13,327 to 111,637), the highest number since records began in 1962.

There were also increases for grants on the basis of marriage (up 6,605 to 42,048), to children (up 4,645 to 45,772) and for other reasons (by 267 to 5,084).

Grants and refusals of citizenship

  Total decisions Total grants On basis of residence On basis of marriage On basis of children Other bases Refusals & withdrawals
Year ending June 2009 185,989 175,684 88,285 43,638 40,071 3,690 10,305
Year ending June 2010 206,244 197,896 95,176 49,897 47,698 5,125 8,348
Year ending June 2011 193,339 185,600 92,734 40,965 46,263 5,638 7,739
Year ending June 2012 186,113 179,697 98,310 35,443 41,127 4,817 6,416
Year ending June 2013 212,188 204,541 111,637 42,048 45,772 5,084 7,647
Change: latest 12 months 26,075 24,844 13,327 6,605 4,645 267 1,231
Percentage change +14% +14% +14% +19% +11% +6% +19%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Citizenship tables cz 01 q and cz 02 q.

The chart below illustrates longer-term trends in grants of citizenship by calendar year.

The chart shows the number of grants of British citizenship between 2001 and the latest calendar year. The data are available in Table cz 03.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Citizenship table cz 03.

Overall, the numbers of applications and grants have risen from 2001 onwards, although applications fell back in 2012. The overall increase in the last decade is likely, in part, to reflect increased grants of permission to stay permanently (known as settlement) up until 2010. After a period of residence those granted settlement become eligible to apply for citizenship.

Grants of citizenship in 2008 were reduced when staff resources were temporarily transferred from decision-making to deal with the administration of new applications. There were 194,209 grants in 2012, lower than the record 203,789 in 2009, but remaining more than double the level seen in 2001 (90,282).

12.3 Grants of citizenship by previous nationality

Former Indian and Pakistani nationals have accounted for the largest numbers of grants in almost every year from 2001 to 2012, with the exception of 2007, when former nationals of Pakistan accounted for only the fifth highest number. Together, former Indian and Pakistani nationals accounted for almost a quarter (24%) of grants in 2012.

Top 10 previous nationalities granted citizenship, 2012

(Total number of grants 194,209)

The chart shows grants of citizenship by previous nationality in 2012. The chart is based on data in Table cz 06.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Citizenship table cz 06.

The top 7 previous nationalities remained the same in 2012 as in 2011, Bangladeshi nationals were eighth (previously tenth), and Zimbabwe and Somali nationals were ninth and tenth (replacing Iraq and Iran in the top 10).

12.4 Where are new citizens attending ceremonies?

While the total number of ceremonies attended has changed in line with grants, the geographical distribution has remained similar since 2009. The proportion of ceremonies in the London region had stood at 54% in 2005 but fell to 42% by 2009, with increases over the same period in the proportions for the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and the South East. However, in 2012 London remained the region with the highest proportion of ceremonies (42%).

12.5 Data tables

Further data on British citizenship are available in Citizenship tables cz 01 to cz 10.

In addition to applications and detailed breakdowns of decisions, these include information on citizenship ceremonies attended and renunciations of citizenship.

12.6 About the figures

There are no separate figures for dependants because all applications for citizenship are from individuals treated as applicants in their own right (including those made on the basis of a relationship with an existing British citizen). The data also reflect the outcome of reconsidered decisions. All figures for 2012 and 2013 are provisional.

Citizenship is granted under the British Nationality Act 1981 which came into force on 1 January 1983, subsequently amended by the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

The number of applications and decisions made reflect changes over time in levels of those entering the country, as well as policy and legislative changes, which for example may affect the number of people potentially eligible to apply. The availability and allocation of resources within the Home Office can also affect the number of decisions.

The User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics provides further details on this topic including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being based on data sourced from an administrative database. For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics, see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide.

Who are the UK’s new citizens?’: Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) Breakfast Briefing Summary, July 2011.

Eurostat comparisons of grants of citizenship across different European countries: ‘EU Member states granted citizenship to more than 800,000 persons in 2010’ (EUROSTAT Statistics in Focus 45/2012).

Eurostat statistics database: Acquisition and loss of citizenship data for European member states, 1998 to 2010.

13. Detention

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

13.1 Introduction

The figures in this topic brief relate to the number of people entering, leaving or in detention, solely under Immigration Act powers, at immigration removal centres, short-term holding facilities and pre-departure accommodation.

13.2 Key facts

The latest data indicates increased throughput of the Home Office detention estate. In the year ending June 2013, 29,710 people entered detention, an increase of 5% compared with the previous year (28,239) and the highest figure using comparable data available from 2009. Over the same period there was an increase of 5% in those leaving detention (from 27,887 to 29,348). Of those leaving detention, 59% were removed from the UK.

As at the end of June 2013, 3,142 people were in detention, 5% higher than the number recorded at the end of June 2012 (2,993) and the highest figure since the series began in 2008.

In the second quarter of 2013, 38 children entered detention, a decrease from 66 in the second quarter of 2012. This follows falls from a peak of 322 in the third quarter of 2009, to a low of 19 in the first quarter of 2011. The rise in quarterly numbers of children entering detention since the first quarter of 2011 shows greater use of Cedars pre-departure accommodation, which opened in August 2011 following the introduction of the ‘Family Returns Process’ to manage the removal of families in March 2011. Cedars is specifically designed for families and unlike in other forms of immigration detention, they are allowed to undertake recreational activities outside the accommodation location subject to a risk assessment and suitable supervision arrangements. However, as with those held elsewhere, those entering Cedars are held under Immigration Act Powers.

People entering, leaving and in detention, solely under Immigration Act powers

  Entering detention Leaving detention In detention
Year ending June 2011 26,301 26,411 2,685
Year ending June 2012 28,239 27,887 2,993
Year ending June 2013 29,710 29,348 3,142
Change: latest year +1,471 +1,461 +149
Percentage change +5% +5% +5%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Detention tables dt 01 q, dt 04 q and dt 09 q.

The increased numbers entering the detention estate over the last year, was in the main due to increased numbers in the second quarter of 2013; 7,982 people entered detention, 14% higher than the same quarter of the previous year (7,005) and 7,613 people left detention, 8% higher than the same quarter of the previous year (7,029).

13.3 Length of detention

Of the 7,613 leaving detention during the second quarter of 2013, 4,703 (62%) had been in detention for less than 29 days, 1,484 (19%) for between 29 days and two months and 975 (13%) for between two and four months. Of the 451 (6%) remaining, 60 had been in detention for between one and two years and 13 for two years or longer.

Of the 2,673 detained for seven days or less, 1,691 (63%) were removed and 902 (34%) were granted temporary admission or release. Of the 73 detained for 12 months or more, 26 (36%) were removed, 19 (26%) were granted temporary admission or release, 25 (34%) were bailed and 3 (4%) left for other reasons.

13.4 Children in detention

The overall trend for children entering detention had generally risen between the start of 2011 and the fourth quarter of 2012. However, since the start of 2013 the numbers have decreased.

In the second quarter of 2013, 38 children entered, a decrease from 66 in the second quarter of 2012 but an increase of 12 on the second quarter of 2011 (26 children). Of those children entering detention in the second quarter of 2013, 11 were detained at Cedars compared with 23 at Tinsley House, 1 at Campsfield House and 3 at Yarl’s Wood. The numbers entering Cedars in the second quarter are the lowest full quarter figures since Cedars first opened. The low total number of children entering detention of 37 in the first quarter of 2013 coincided with the closure of Tinsley House to new entrants for most of the quarter, though this was then followed by a similarly low figure for the second quarter of 38 children.

Of the 38 children leaving detention in the second quarter of 2013, seven were removed from the UK, one was granted leave to enter or remain and the remaining 30 were granted temporary admission or release. Of those leaving detention, 30 had been detained for less than three days, seven for between four and seven days and one had been detained, in Harmondsworth, for between 15 and 28 days. The proportion of children removed from the UK on leaving detention is susceptible to fluctuation, being percentages on small numbers; it has ranged from a low of 8% in the first quarter of 2011 to 63% in the first quarter of 2013 and was 18% in the second quarter of 2013.

Children entering detention, solely under Immigration Act powers

The chart shows the total number of enforced removals, total voluntary departures and total non-asylum cases refused entry at port and subsequently removed between Q1 2004 and the latest quarter. The data are available in Table rv 01 q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Detention table dt 03 q.
(1) Oakington Reception Centre closed on 12 November 2010, Yarl’s Wood closed to families with children on 16 December 2010.
(2) Cedars pre-departure accommodation opened on 17 August 2011.
(3) Tinsley House closed to new entrants from 18 January to 20 March 2013 due to an infectious illness.

13.5 Data tables

Further data on detention are available in Detention tables dt 01 to dt 12 q.

13.6 About the figures

Figures presented here do not include those held in police cells, Prison Service establishments, short-term holding rooms at ports and airports (for less than 24 hours) and those recorded as detained under both criminal and immigration powers and their dependants.

The User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics provides further detail on this topic including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being based on data sourced from an administrative database.

Children are those recorded as being under 18 years of age. All data for 2012 and 2013 are provisional.

In December 2010, the Government announced its commitment to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes. A ‘Family Returns Process’ for managing the removal of families with no right to be in the UK began in March 2011. Integral to this process, new pre-departure accommodation located near Gatwick Airport, Cedars, opened in August 2011, which was specifically designed to provide a secure facility for children and their families. Whilst children are detained in Cedars under Immigration Act powers, they are not held in the same conditions as previously found in adult detention facilities. The User Guide also includes information on Cedars pre-departure accommodation.

In March 2011 Tinsley House family unit was reopened, after refurbishment, predominately for families detained at the Border, whilst awaiting a decision to allow entry to the UK. The User Guide also includes information on Tinsley House family unit.

For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timelinepublished alongside the User Guide.

Following revisions of the 2012 data, it was noted that the number of children entering detention increased from 222 to 242. This increase was due to people being recorded as adults when detained and subsequently, following an age dispute assessment, identified as children.

Data on the family returns process are published as official statistics by the Home Office as part of their immigration performance data, ‘Our performance’.

14. Removals and voluntary departures

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

14.1 Introduction

The figures in this section relate to numbers of people, including dependants, leaving the UK either voluntarily when they no longer had a right to stay in the UK or where, in the main, the Home Office has sought to remove individuals. While individuals removed at a port of entry have not necessarily entered the country, their removal requires action by UK Border Force and Home Office, such as being placed on a return flight, and are therefore detailed below. The numbers of people leaving the UK by the various types of departure (enforced removals; refused entry at port and subsequent departures; and voluntary departures) are given below.

14.2 Key facts

Enforced removals from the UK decreased by 7% to 14,062 in the year ending June 2013 as compared with the previous 12 months (15,110) and this represents the lowest figure since the series began in 2004.

The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed has fallen by 1% in the year ending June 2013 to 14,134 from 14,236 for the previous 12 months. This follows an ongoing overall fall in these figures, with considerable decreases between the third quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2010.

In the year ending June 2013, total voluntary departures are little changed at 29,265 as compared with the previous 12 months (29,234). This category has represented the largest proportion of those departing from the UK since the end of 2009. However, the retrospective nature of data-matching exercises that are undertaken to count for some voluntary departures means that the figures for 2012 and 2013 will be subject to upward revision (see the section ‘About the figures’).

Removals and voluntary departures by type

  Total enforced removals Total refused entry at port and subsequently departed Total voluntary departures (1) Assisted Voluntary Returns (2) Notified voluntary departures (3) Other confirmed voluntary departures (1)(4) Other confirmed voluntary departures as a % of voluntary departures
Year ending June 2008 17,801 31,804 16,477 3,897 4,094 8,486 52%
Year ending June 2009 15,867 31,859 19,894 4,756 3,805 11,333 57%
Year ending June 2010 15,104 23,452 26,895 4,966 5,475 16,454 61%
Year ending June 2011 14,931 16,639 25,064 3,386 6,618 15,060 60%
Year ending June 2012 15,110 14,236 29,234 3,618 7,519 18,097 62%
Year ending June 2013 14,062 14,134 29,265 3,944 6,485 18,836 64%
Change: latest year -1,048 -102 +31 +326 -1,034 +739 -
Percentage change -7% -1% 0% +9% -14% +4% -

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Removals and voluntary departures table rv 01 q.
(1) The figures for total voluntary departures and confirmed voluntary departures will initially be undercounts due to data-matching exercises that take place after the statistics are produced.
(2) Assisted Voluntary Return - where financial assistance is provided.
(3) Notified Voluntary Departure - where a person notifies Home Office that they have departed.
(4) Other confirmed voluntary departure - where a person has been identified as leaving when they no longer had the right to remain in the UK, either as a result of embarkation controls or by subsequent data matching on Home Office systems.

Of the voluntary departures in the year ending June 2013, 64% of those departing were categorised as other confirmed voluntary departures, 22% as notified voluntary departures and 13% as Assisted Voluntary Returns (AVRs). The largest category, other confirmed voluntary departures, are cases where a person has been identified as leaving when they no longer had the right to remain in the UK, either as a result of embarkation controls or by subsequent data matching on Home Office systems. This category has been the largest since 2007 when it surpassed AVRs; AVRs fell from 6,200 to 4,157 in 2007 whereas other confirmed voluntary departures increased from 4,449 to 6,883 in the same period and have since grown considerably to 18,836 in the year ending June 2013.

The chart shows the number of children entering detention between Q1 2009 and the latest quarter.  The data are available in Table dt 03 q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, Removals and voluntary departures Table rv 01 q.

The number of those refused entry at port and subsequently removed has decreased since the beginning of the data series in 2004. The 42% decrease from the third quarter of 2009 (7,751) to the second quarter of 2010 (4,520) has no identified single cause, although 26% of the decrease was due to a fall in the number of nationals of Afghanistan being refused entry and subsequently removed (-855). The overall falls are likely to be due to a combination of factors, including tighter screening of passenger prior to travel and changes in visa processes and regimes, for example, South African nationals requiring visas for any length or type of visit to the UK from July 2009.

The long-term trend for voluntary departures had been steadily increasing up to the first quarter of 2010, but quarterly figures have since fluctuated. The long-term increases often coincide with the Home Office improving its contact management with migrants and its ability to track those that are leaving the UK. The figures include individuals, identified by administrative exercises, who have overstayed their leave and left the UK without informing the Home Office, and, through this identification process, allow Home Office to focus its enforcement action on those who remain in the UK. Since the end of 2009, this category represents the largest proportion of those departing from the UK as recorded in this data series. As mentioned above, the figures for the most recent quarters will be subject to upward revision as matching checks are made on travellers after departure.

The numbers of enforced removals have declined since publication of this data series began, and the latest figure for the year ending June 2013 (14,062) represents the lowest figure since the series began in 2004, although the decline has been fairly slow in recent years.

14.3 Asylum and non-asylum enforced removals

In the year ending June 2013, there were 4,948 enforced removals who had sought asylum at some stage, down 9% from the previous 12-month period (5,416) and 58% lower than the 11,743 in 2004, the earliest available data in the time series. This long-term decrease in asylum cases departing can be viewed in the context of a generally decreasing trend in asylum applications since 2002; although the asylum applications have increased in recent years, they still remain low compared to the peak in 2002.

In the year ending June 2013, 9,114, or 65% of the total enforced removals, had not claimed asylum at any stage, down 6% from the previous 12-month period (9,694) and down 9% from the peak of 10,070 in 2008.

14.4 Removals and voluntary departures by nationality

The highest number of enforced removals in the year ending June 2013 were for nationals of Pakistan (2,027), who also saw the highest increase since the year ending June 2012 (+271 nationals or +15%). Nationals of India were the second highest with 1,901 enforced removals.

Nationals of the United States saw the highest number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently departed (1,882), although with a decrease of -84 cases or -4% since the year ending June 2012. Nationals of Albania and Brazil were the second and third highest with 941 and 938 refused entry cases at port and subsequently departed, respectively, in the year ending June 2013. Nationals of Albania, who require a visa for entry to the UK, had seen the highest increase since the year ending June 2012 (+161 nationals or +22%). Nationals of United States and Brazil who are not coming to the UK for work or for six months or more do not need to apply for and be issued with a visa prior to arrival, and will therefore not have been through a process prior to arrival which refuses entry.

The highest number of voluntary departures in the year ending June 2013 was for nationals of India (7,308). Nationals of Pakistan were the second highest with 3,670 voluntary departures and they also saw the highest increase since the year ending June 2012 (+583 or +19%).

14.5 Departures by ‘harm’ assessment

In the financial year 2012/13, 14,283 enforced removals and 29,845 voluntary departures were subject to an assessment for a harm rating, of which 18% of enforced removals and 1% of voluntary departures were assessed as ‘higher harm’. In the previous financial year, 22% of enforced removals and 1% of total voluntary departures were assessed as ‘higher harm’. ‘Higher harm’ assessments include people who have committed serious criminal and immigration offences.

The harm matrix was introduced in 2007 for monitoring the Public Service Agreement that then was applied to measure performance in removing the most harmful people first.

14.6 Foreign national offenders

During the financial year 2012/13, 4,684 foreign national offenders were removed compared with 4,539 in 2011/12. Foreign national offenders are included within total enforced removals. The Home Office removes foreign national offenders either by using enforcement powers or via deportation.

During the second quarter of 2013, 1,177 foreign national offenders were removed, which represents an increase of 4% from the number of those removed in the second quarter of 2012 (1,131).

14.7 Data tables

Further data on removals and voluntary departures are available in:

14.8 About the figures

The User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics provides further details on this topic including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being based on data sourced from an administrative database.

Numbers of enforced removals include people deported. Deportations are a subset of departures which are enforced either following a criminal conviction or when it is judged that a person’s removal from the UK is in the public’s interest; a person who has received a deportation order is not allowed to return to the UK, unless the order is cancelled. Most illegal immigrants are removed from the UK under administrative or illegal entry powers and not deported. Published information on those deported from the UK is not separately available.

Other confirmed voluntary departures were previously known as “Other voluntary departures”. The name change, during 2012, is to clearly signpost those departures which are confirmed by either checks at the border or after the departure; further details are available in the User Guide. As the data matching for the other confirmed voluntary departures is undertaken retrospectively this means these figures are particularly subject to greater upward revision than would be the case for other categories of departure. In light of this, the other confirmed voluntary departures for the first quarter of 2013 have been revised upwards from 4,708 to 5,400 (15% increase) in this quarterly release.

For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide.

All data include dependants, unless otherwise stated and are provisional for 2012 and 2013.

Information on numbers of people removed upon leaving detention is available in the ‘Detention’ topic and numbers of non-asylum passengers initially refused entry at port are available in the ‘Before Entry’ topic.

Data on the family returns process are published as official statistics by HO as part of their performance data, ‘Our performance’.

15. European Economic Area (EEA)

Valid: 29 August 2013 to 28 November 2013

15.1 Introduction

The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of countries within the European Union, together with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Nationals of the EEA and Switzerland have rights of free movement within the UK and are generally not subject to immigration control (though nationals of Bulgaria and Romania have certain restrictions placed on them). Hence there is less information available about EEA nationals from the Home Office’s immigration control administrative systems. This section brings together the information that is available relating to EEA nationals.

15.2 Key facts

In the year ending June 2013 a large proportion (88%) of the 108.2 million journeys to the UK were British, other EEA and Swiss nationals who have rights of free movement and are not subject to immigration control (Source: admissions data table ad 01 q).

In 2012, more British nationals emigrated from the UK (144,000) than immigrated to the UK (81,000) i.e. a net migration of -63,000. By contrast, fewer other EU nationals emigrated from the UK (74,000) than immigrated to the UK (155,000), i.e. net migration of +82,000 (Source: Long-Term International Migration estimates, ONS).

For EU2 nationals (Bulgaria and Romania) in the year ending June 2013, approvals under the Sector Based Scheme (SBS) fell by 22% to 496 compared with the year ending June 2012; and approvals under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) fell by 5% to 19,392.

In 2012 for EU2 nationals, there were 2,452 applications for accession worker cards and 28,224 for registration certificates, down 26% and 20% respectively compared with 2011. There were corresponding falls in approvals to 1,803 (-32%) and 22,353 (-7%). Applications for registration certificates appear to have followed a downward trend since 2011.

Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are also able to work in the UK on a self-employed basis, but are not required to apply for documentation to confirm this right. Separate figures from the ONS Labour Force Survey indicate an increase between 2008 and 2012 in the numbers of Bulgarians (from 19,000 to 25,000) and Romanians (from 21,000 to 66,000) living and working in the UK.

There were 83,644 decisions in 2012 on applications for residence documents for EEA nationals and non-EEA nationals who were related to EEA nationals, down 15% on 2011. Of these decisions there were a third fewer providing an initial recognition of right to reside (32,215, down 32%) and a quarter fewer giving recognition of permanent residence (15,197, down 28%). There were increases in the numbers refused initial recognition of right to reside (9,472, up 12%) and refused recognition of permanent residence (2,332, up 17%).

15.3 Admissions of EEA nationals

Passenger arrivals including estimates of EEA admissions

The chart shows numbers of passengers arriving between 2001 and the latest calendar year available, from Home Office admissions data, available in Table ad 01.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics April-June 2013, Admissions table ad 01.

Estimates from IPS provide EU nationals’ reasons for entry. The large majority are either visitors for less than 12 months or individuals returning to the UK (Source: ONS, Travel Trends).

The number of British passenger arrivals rose from 68.2 million in 2004 to 71.9 million in 2007 and then fell to 60.9 million in 2010 before rising again to 63.2 million in 2012. The number remained at 63.3 million in the 12 months to March 2013, the latest period for which an estimate is available.

Between 2001 and 2003, the number of Other EEA and Swiss passenger arrivals was relatively stable, being between 14 and 15 million; however, there was an increase in 2004 to 17 million, which coincided with 10 countries joining the EU/EEA. The number of Other EEA and Swiss passenger arrivals rose to 30.6 million in 2012 and 30.8 million in the 12 months to March 2013. From 2007, arrivals will have been boosted by nationals of Bulgaria and Romania, following these countries becoming part of the EEA.

15.4 Migration of EU nationals

Provisional Long-Term International Migration estimates define immigrants as individuals who are resident for at least a year in the UK (or abroad for emigrants). In 2012, Long-Term International Migration estimates of those migrating for at least 12 months indicate that fewer British nationals immigrated to the UK than emigrated from the UK; 81,000 nationals immigrating and 144,000 emigrating, i.e. a net migration of -63,000, a change from -70,000 in 2011. This compares with an estimated 155,000 other EU nationals immigrating and 74,000 emigrating in 2012, i.e. a net migration of +82,000, the same level as in 2011.

Estimates from the International Passenger Survey show that 44% of British and 65% of other EU national immigrants came for work-related reasons. By contrast, only 19% of non-EU immigrants came for work, while 59% came for study.

Source: ONS, Provisional Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates.

15.5 ‘EU2’ countries – Bulgaria and Romania

Applications for accession worker cards, required for work in the UK as an employee, and for registration certificates, that provide proof of residency rights, fell in 2012 compared with 2011, with falls of 26% to 2,452 and 20% to 28,224, respectively. The corresponding data on approvals show falls of 32% to 1,803 and 7% to 22,353.

Application and approvals data for the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 have been revised upward compared to data previously published following the allocation of additional resource to deal with these cases within Home Office. Other reasons for revisions of accession worker cards and registration certificate applications and approvals data over time include that:

  • as decisions are made relating to the applications in a quarter, the number of approvals recorded against that quarter’s applications will increase; and

  • as decisions are made, and data are entered on administrative systems, the number of applications recorded on systems can increase.

In the year ending June 2013, approvals under the Sector Based Scheme (SBS) fell by 22% to 496 compared to the previous 12 months and over the same period approvals under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Scheme (SAWS) fell by 5% to 19,392.

Approvals under the SBS have fallen from a peak of 1,569 in 2008, and have since been well below 1,000, at 775 in 2009, 601 in 2010 and 787 in 2011. The number then fell sharply to 488 in 2012. The Migration Advisory Committee ‘Migrant Seasonal Workers’ report suggests that the fall in SBS approvals may partly reflect a reduction in employee turnover along with falls in the number of employers participating in the scheme (see Other related data).

SAWS approvals rose from 8,058 in 2007 to 16,461 in 2008 and averaged around 20,000 for 2009 to 2011. There was a slight rise to 20,821 in 2012. They have fallen back slightly in the year ending June 2013 (to 19,392), reflecting lower numbers in the first two quarters of 2013 than in the same period of 2012.

Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are also able to work in the UK on a self-employed basis, but are not required to apply for documentation to confirm this right. Separate figures from the ONS Labour Force Survey (including both employed and self-employed) indicate an increase between 2008 and 2012 in the numbers of Bulgarians (from 19,000 to 25,000) and Romanians (from 21,000 to 66,000) living and working in the UK. (Source: Table 4.3, International Migration and the United Kingdom, Report of the United Kingdom SOPEMI correspondent to the OECD, 2012.

15.6 Residence document decisions

Under European law, EEA nationals do not need to obtain documentation confirming their right of residence in the UK. However, if they want to support an application for a residence card by any of their family members who are not EEA nationals, they must demonstrate that they are residing in the UK in accordance with the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and are “exercising Treaty rights” in the UK. The Home Office website provides details of residence documents for European nationals.

There were 83,644 decisions on applications for EEA residence documents in 2012, 15% (-14,338) fewer than 2011, but similar to the numbers of decisions made in earlier years.

Within this, decisions recognising permanent residence had shown a generally rising trend between 2007 (7,623) and 2011 (21,159).This may reflect the numbers previously issued initial right to reside documents and living in the UK under European regulations for 5 years becoming eligible to apply for documents certifying permanent residence.

The latest year’s decisions to issue initial right to reside documents and those in recognition of permanent residence fell in 2012 (by 32% and 28% respectively), in total and for most nationalities. Only Bulgaria and Romania saw notable rises in 2012, in the issue of documents in recognition of permanent residence although numbers remain low. Issues to Bulgarians rose to 1,067 in 2012 compared with 13 in 2011, while issues to Romanians rose to 1,110 from 24 in the previous year. This is likely to be due to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals having had the opportunity to live in the UK for 5 years under European regulations since accession in 2007.

The number of applications found to be invalid on receipt by Home Office in 2012 compared to 2011 rose to 14,438 for initial right to reside (up 1,794 or +14%) and to 9,568 for documents certifying permanent residence (up 4,346 or +83%). This new category of refusal was introduced in 2011 for applications that didn’t provide key information or documentation. Applications refused or found to be invalid may result in an immediate re-application, resulting in a further decision being counted in Table ee 02.

15.7 Data tables

Further data on EEA nationals are available in the following tables:

15.8 About the figures

Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania (the ‘EU2’ countries) currently have certain restrictions placed on them; other nationals of EEA countries can apply for documentation that shows that they have the right of free movement. In the first 12 months of stay, working Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are generally required to hold an accession worker card or apply for one of two lower-skilled quota schemes: the Sector Based Scheme (SBS) or Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS), unless they are exempt. Exempt Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can apply for a registration certificate, giving proof of a right to live in the UK. Further details are available in the User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics. Data for 2013 relating to accession worker cards and registration certificates approved are highly provisional and likely to be revised significantly in future (based on previous experience of these data sources).

Figures for admissions and immigration in this briefing are estimates rounded to the nearest thousand. Relevant tables provide unrounded data (except for admissions data and IPS estimates).

All data for 2012 and 2013 are provisional (2012 IPS data are final).

The User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics provides further details on this topic including definitions used, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures being based on data sourced from an administrative database or from surveys. For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide.

EEA nationals do not require an entry clearance visa. Slightly over 460 visas were recorded as issued to EEA nationals in 2012, with 419 of these recorded as nationals of Cyprus, but most likely these people are from the area not under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus. The ‘Before Entry’ data tables and section of the User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics provide more information.

Passenger arrivals figures for 2001 to 2003, referred to in the chart above, can be found in Table 1.2 of ‘Control of Immigration Statistics UK 2009’.

There continued to be small numbers of EEA nationals, including dependants seeking asylum, a total of 91 in 2012. Half of these applicants were Polish nationals (43). In the year ending June 2013, a relatively small number of EEA nationals (1,975 enforced removals, 772 refused entry at port and subsequently departed and 102 voluntary departures) were removed or departed voluntarily. European legislation generally sets higher thresholds for deporting EEA nationals than exist for other foreign nationals.

Croatia joined the European Union (EU) on 1 July 2013. Transitional arrangements, Croatian nationals were introduced to restrict Croatian nationals’ access to the UK labour market.

The Home Office, Migration: Bulgarian and Romanian workers, has previously indicated that restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians will continue until the end of 2013.

The Migration Advisory Committee report ‘Migrant Seasonal Workers’, includes detailed analysis of the SBS and SAWS schemes.

16. About this Release

The Immigration Statistics quarterly release gives an overview of work on immigration within the Home Office, including the work of UK Border Force and UK Visas and Immigration. It helps inform users including the Government, Parliament, the media and the wider public, and supports the development and monitoring of policy.

The release includes the following topic briefings: (cross-cutting) Work, Study, Family, (single topic) Before Entry, Admissions, Extensions, Settlement, Citizenship, Asylum, Removals and Voluntary Departures, Detention and the European Economic Area. Detailed tables of figures accompany each of the topic briefings, providing data up to the second quarter of 2013 (April to June).

The ‘Immigration Statistics’ release is a National Statistics output produced to the highest professional standards and free from political interference. It has been produced by statisticians working in the Home Office Statistics Unit in accordance with the Home Office’s ‘Statement of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics’ which covers our policy on revisions and other matters. The governance arrangements in the Home Office for statistics were strengthened on 1 April 2008 to place the statistical teams under the direct line management of a Chief Statistician, who reports to the National Statistician with respect to all professional statistical matters.

16.1 National Statistics

The UK Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs;
  • are well explained and readily accessible;
  • are produced according to sound methods; and
  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

The assessment report (No. 177) and letter of confirmation as National Statistics can be viewed on the UK Statistics Authority website.

16.2 Changes to topic briefings and tables

There have been changes to the following topic briefings and tables in this release:

  • Asylum support: As announced in Immigration Statistics January to March 2013, the method for processing has changed for all figures on asylum support for 2013. The new method allows Home Office Statistics better access to the data for data quality purposes and improved reconciliation with administrative records, and allows the possibility to publish new data. The original data source for both methods is the same. Data extracted using both processes have been compared and the resulting totals for the latest data are within 4%. Data for 2012 and earlier were compiled using the previous method and have not been revised. This change has enabled the introduction of data on total main applicants and dependants supported under Section 4 as at the end of each quarter within table as 18 q.

  • Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) and Age Disputed Cases. As announced in Immigration Statistics January to March 2013, an internal review of the UASC and age dispute data highlighted issues with the definitions used for previously published data, in particular that the definition for UASCs was broader than it should be as it included all asylum applicants who had ever been recorded as an unaccompanied minor and not just those who were unaccompanied during their asylum application.

In this release, the definitions have been refined and data have been produced for 2012 and 2013; earlier data are not currently available. The data published in Immigration Statistics January to March 2013 using the previous definition currently provides the best available guide to historical trends for the years 2006 to 2012, but, in future releases, it is aimed to provide earlier years.

UASC application

From this release, the counting definition used is: An asylum application received from a main applicant who is treated as an unaccompanied child for at least one day from the date of their application, up until, where applicable, the initial decision.

The age groups provided relate to the age at application, based on the date of birth recorded when the data were extracted.

The impact, as a result of these counting definition changes, is:

Year or Quarter Published in Immigration Statistics January – March 2013 Revised, based on previous definition and new data extract (1) Revised, using new data extract and new definitions Difference due to definitional change
2012 1,168 1,258 1,125 -133
2013 Q1 305 : 259 -46

: = Not applicable.
(1) Data for 2012 were due to be revised in this release.

An asylum applicant previously counted in the UASC application data will no longer be included if the record shows that were only considered an unaccompanied minor: before their application; or after their initial decision; or for less than 1 day. Instead they will only be counted if the record shows they were considered an unaccompanied minor for at least 1 day while the asylum claim was initially being considered.

UASC initial decisions and withdrawals

From this release, the counting definition used is: An initial decision on or application withdrawal from someone treated as an unaccompanied child for at least one day between the dates of their asylum application and the initial decision, though excluding anyone whose recorded date of birth indicates they were over 18 at the date of the application.

The age groups provided relate to the age at initial decision, based on the date of birth recorded when the data were extracted.

The impact on initial decisions, as a result of these counting definition changes, is:

Quarter Published in Immigration Statistics January – March 2013 Revised, based on previous definition and new data extract (1) Revised, using new data extract and new definitions Difference due to definitional change
2012 870 870 681 -189
2013 Q1 376 : 338 -38

: = Not applicable.
(1) Data for 2012 were due to be revised in this release.

The definitional change made for initial decisions and withdrawals are the same as for a UASC application, except the addition that the recorded date of birth must now show that they are under 18 when they applied.

For applications, initial decisions and withdrawals only the last time they are considered a UASC is counted.

Raised age dispute

From this release, the counting definition used is: An age assessment request raised for a main asylum applicant. ‘Age disputes raised’ relates to the number of age assessment requests made in a quarter where the asylum application was made in the same or an earlier quarter, together with asylum applications raised where there is an age assessment outstanding from a previous quarter.

Within quarterly table, the data are split based on whether the asylum application was made in a previous period (i.e. existing) or not.

The impact on age disputes, as a result of these counting definition changes, is:

Quarter Published in Immigration Statistics January – March 2013 Revised, based on previous counts (1) Revised, using new counting definitions Difference due to definitional change
2012 328 333 337 4
2013 Q1 80 : 76 -4

: = Not applicable.
(1) Data for 2012 were due to be revised in this release.

An age dispute is now only counted if the age assessment is in progress at the same time as the asylum application; age assessments completed before the asylum claim are ignored. In addition, each separate age dispute on the same person are now counted. The numbers now relate to the quarter when the individual becomes an asylum applicant with an age dispute rather than the quarter the asylum application is made.

In addition to the above, further data are being published on numbers of age disputes resolved. These relate to the number of age assessments marked as completed during a quarter.

The age groups provided relate to the age the individual was considered to be when the age assessment request were raised, based on the date of birth recorded when the data were extracted. It is expected that the date of birth would have been updated to reflect the outcome of the age assessment.

Due to quality assurance issues it was decided not to produce the figures on asylum applicants with age disputes open at the end of the quarter, as proposed in Immigration Statistics January – March 2013.

  • Asylum applications: Total numbers of applications, for main applicants, from 1984 to 2000 and, for main applicants and dependants, from 1979 to 2001 have been added to tables as 01 and as 02 respectively.

16.3 Revisions to data

There have been minor revisions to figures for 2012 relating to asylum, admissions, visas and settlement as part of planned updates using later extracts of administrative data. The revisions have not made substantive changes to the trends indicated in data published in February 2013. For further information see the User Guide.

Within the Removals and Voluntary Departures section there have been larger revisions of figures for 2012 relating to the category ‘other confirmed voluntary departures’. Retrospective checks mean that figures for voluntary departures are subject to upward revision. This is particularly so for confirmed voluntary departures that are generated as a result of detailed retrospective checking, but some more limited revision is needed for notified voluntary departures to allow time for recording notifications from those who have departed. In addition, other confirmed voluntary departures for the first quarter of 2013 have been revised up from 4,708 to 5,400 (+15%).

Within the Detention section there have also been revisions of figures for 2012 relating to children entering detention. Larger revisions to the data on the number of children entering detention occur when a more recent data extract is used to produce the figures. Later extracts will reflect changes made to date of birth information about individuals. These changes do not change the total number of people entering detention but may increase or decrease the number of children reported as entering detention.

The User Guide contains further information on the extent of the 2012 revisions.

Within the European Economic Area section, data on approvals for registration certificates and the Sector Based Scheme (SBS), for the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 have been revised upward compared to data previously published; for the two quarters, registration certificates have been revised from a total of 4,391 to 10,124 as part of the expected revision process and SBS from 23 to 255 to reflect a correction to include records previously not counted.

16.4 Future changes

The following changes are planned, subject to data quality and available resources:

  • Children entering detention: A new quarterly table will be introduced in November 2013 that will specifically show children entering detention by first place of detention and age. This table, unlike others covering immigration detention, will show Tinsley House family unit separately from Tinsley House non-family unit. The aim of this is to show the number of children entering accommodation designed specifically for families and those entering accommodation designed for adults.
  • Sponsored study visa applications: Investigations are being made as to whether it would be possible to publish an additional nationality breakdown for the Certificates of Acceptances for Study (CAS) used data for the university (UK-based higher education institutions) sector, possibly for introduction in November 2013.

EEA topic: Migration Statistics anticipate that the EEA section of this release will be discontinued during 2013-14, following the end of transitional controls for the EU2 nationals (Bulgaria and Romania).

If you have any comments on these plans please contact us via the Migration Statistics Enquiries inbox.

16.5 Migration Statistics User Forum

In June 2013, the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) formally recognised the work of the Migration Statistics User Forum (MSUF), which means that the MSUF is now affiliated to the main RSS Statistics User Forum, Royal Statistical Society, Statistics User Forum Groups.

16.6 User conference – 17 September 2013

A one-day migration statistics user conference is planned for 17 September 2013. The conference programme and booking details are available via the JISCmail list (see below) or from the Royal Statistical Society events page.

16.7 Communications

An email distribution list is available to allow communication between users and producers of migration statistics throughout the year.

Specifically, this is a forum for discussion of migration statistics that allows users to discuss their need for and use of the data and for producers to consult on presentation and changes. The main focus is on figures for the UK, but this would not exclude discussion of migration statistics for other countries. Home Office Statistics intends to use this list for communication with users, including data and release developments.

The distribution list is available to join through the MIGRATION-STATS JISCmail list.

16.8 Public Administration Select Committee inquiry

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has recently examined the topic of migration statistics, as part of a programme of work on statistics and their use in government, and has published a report, Public Administration Select Committee, Migration Statistics.

In 2011, users responded to a statistical consultation relating to proposed changes to the immigration-related Home Office statistical outputs, which resulted in this release. An update of the outcomes the requests and comments that were considered out of scope of the original consultation has been published, ‘Consultation on changes to immigration-related Home Office statistical outputs.

16.10 Home Office statistical work programme

The Home Office has published its Statistical Work Programme 2013 to 2014 which outlines the most significant outputs, highlights some recent developments and outlines future plans. Pages 3 to 4 of the Work Programme cover our statistics on immigration. Pages 11 to 12 of the Work programme provide details of how you can provide feedback on the work programme and outputs.

16.11 Further information and feedback

If you have any questions or comments about this release, please send an email to MigrationStatsEnquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk or write to

The Editor, Immigration Statistics,
Migration Statistics,
Home Office Statistics,
17th Floor Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road,
Croydon CR9 2BY

Press enquiries should be made to:

Home Office Press Office
Peel Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

Tel: 020 7035 3535

The Home Office Responsible Statistician is David Blunt, Chief Statistician and Head of Profession for Statistics.

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