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

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

1. Summary Points: January to March 2013

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

Work, study and family-related immigration of non-EEA nationals continued to fall, with further falls in visas issued, although study has fallen less quickly than previously. The falls for work and study are likely in part to be due to policy changes which came into effect in 2011.

1.1 Work

There were 5% and 14% falls for work-related visas issued (to 141,800) and permissions to stay permanently (to 61,326). However, there was an 11% increase in work-related extensions of stay (to 144,056), explained by higher grants to skilled workers (Tier 2) partly offset by falls due to closures of the high value (Tier 1) Post Study and General routes.

1.2 Study

There were 9% fewer student visas issued (to 206,814, mainly relating to falls for nationals of Pakistan and India although there was an increase for China). Correspondingly, sponsored student visa applications fell 10% to 207,751, with a 5% increase for the university sector, contrasting with falls for the further education sector (-46%), English language schools (-46%), and independent schools (-7%).

1.3 Family

There was a fall of 16% for family-related visas issued (to 37,470), while extensions of stay (24,877) and grants of permission to stay permanently (53,258) reversed previous trends and increased by 45% and 4% respectively. The 45% increase was mainly due to 5,670 extensions recorded under the new Family life (10 year) route that would previously have been recorded as discretionary leave in the “other” category. There was also a 7% fall in the number of visas issued to all other dependants (excluding visitors) (to 71,068).

1.4 EEA

For the EU2 countries (Bulgaria and Romania) approvals under the Sector Based Scheme (SBS) fell by two-thirds (-67%) to 240 and approvals under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) fell by 9% to 20,390. In 2012 there were falls for the EU2 countries of 35% and 17% in approvals for accession worker cards (to 1,717) and for registration certificates (to 20,090), compared with 2011.

1.5 Asylum

There were 22,592 asylum applications, a rise of 14%, with rises in applications from nationals of Pakistan, Syria, Albania, India and Bangladesh. However, this remains low relative to the peak in 2002 (84,132), and similar to levels seen since 2005. At the end of March 2013, 14,225 of the applications received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision, 24% more than a year earlier.

1.6 Extensions

There were 2% more grants to extend stay (to 281,552), with increases in work and family-related grants (+11% and +45%) offset by falls for study (-2%) and other (-52%, mainly discretionary). This followed annual falls in the total over the previous three years.

1.7 Citizenship

There was a 12% increase in people granted British citizenship (to 195,621), largely accounted for by grants on the basis of residence (+11,527, to 107,152, the highest number since records began in 1962) or on the basis of marriage (+5,260, to 39,644) and may also reflect greater resource used for decision-making.

1.8 Detention

In the first quarter of 2013, 37 children entered detention, a decrease of 16 on the first quarter of 2012, this fall coinciding with the closure of Tinsley House from 18 January to 20 March 2013 to new entrants due to an infectious illness.

1.9 Removals and Voluntary Departures

There were 5% fewer enforced removals (to 14,120), and 9% fewer passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed (to 13,606). There was a 4% increase in voluntary departures (to 28,309), although this increase can be explained by a low quarterly figure at the start of the year ending March 2012.

2. Other points to note

2.1 Before Entry

There were 499,780 visas issued (excluding visitor and transit visas), a fall of 6% and the lowest annual recorded figure using comparable data available from 2005.

2.2 Admissions

There were 106.6 million journeys to the UK, similar to the year ending March 2012 (106.0 million).

2.3 Detention

4% more people entered detention (28,735) and 6% more people left detention (28,761). Of those leaving detention, 60% were removed from the UK. As of the end of March 2013, 2,853 people were in detention, 6% fewer than the number recorded at the end of March 2012.

2.4 Settlement

There were 9% fewer people granted permission to stay permanently (settlement), falling to 137,394, accounted for by falls for work-related (-9,584) and discretionary or other grants (-7,228).

Further and more detailed analysis can be found below.

3. Work

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

3.1 Introduction

This topic brief 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 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 migrants i.e. those intending to stay for at least 12 months for work.

3.2 Key facts

In the year ending March 2013, there were 5% and 14% falls for work-related visas issued (141,800) and permissions to stay permanently (61,326) compared with the year ending March 2012, but an 11% increase in work-related extensions of stay (144,056). In the year ending June 2012 there were 12% fewer work-related admissions (142,000) compared with the previous 12 months; and similarly provisional IPS estimates of work-related long-term immigration fell 9% to 46,000 in the year ending September 2012 (with those indicating they had a definite job falling 11% and 5% fewer ‘looking for a job’).

The 141,800 work-related visas issued in the year ending March 2013 was the lowest 12-monthly total recorded using comparable data available from 2005.

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 the policy changes can be found in the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline.

The 11% increase (+14,506) in work-related grants of extension in the year ending March 2013 can be explained by an increase in grants to skilled workers (Tier 2) (from 32,858 to 55,183); however, this is offset by a fall in grants for high value individuals (Tier 1, from 83,975 to 77,117, including fewer grants in the post-study work route down from 46,739 to 23,149, partly offset by a rise in grants in the Tier 1 General route from 35,872 to 51,096).

Similarly, the 5% fall for work-related visas (-6,789) was largely a result of lower numbers issued to high value individuals (Tier 1), falling 34% from 21,576 to 14,307, which in turn was mainly due to the closure of the Tier 1 Post Study and Tier 1 General routes (falling from 10,376 to 5,384 and from 9,011 to 5,272 respectively). As with extensions, there was a contrasting increase (+5%) in visas issued for skilled individuals (Tier 2) from 67,012 to 70,134. Visas issued for youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5) fell 2% from 37,777 to 36,942.

In the year ending March 2013, there were 7% more sponsored visa applications (main applicants) from skilled individuals (Tier 2) than the year ending March 2012 (from 39,501 to 42,112). The majority of the 42,112 certificates used related to the Information and Communication (18,006, up 9%), Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (7,594, up 4%), and Financial and Insurance Activities (5,276, down 6%) sectors

In the year ending March 2013, there were 5% more sponsored visa applications (main applicants) from youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5) than the year ending March 2012 (increasing from 38,460 to 40,366), the large majority of which related to the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (29,404) and Education (4,044) 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 January–March 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 3 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 145,138)

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 January–March 2013, before entry table be 06 q w.

For work-related visas and admissions the highest numbers relate to Indian, Australian and United States nationals. In 2011, the top 10 nationalities were the same, apart from a difference in the 10th place – Nigeria is 10th for admissions – and a difference in the order.

Some of the differences in the ranking between visas and admissions data for 2011 may be due to timing differences e.g. some visas granted in 2011 may be used in 2012. 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 26,000) of United States nationals compared to numbers issued with a visa.

Top 10 nationalities granted an extension to stay for work, 2012 (excludes dependants)

(Total 94,549)

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 January–March 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 Table ex 02 w further, the main explanation 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.

3.3 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 14% (-9,584) fall in work-related grants in the year ending March 2013 (61,326) continuing the fall from the peak of 90,569 in the year ending March 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 2011 (the latest available settlement data by nationality) differs slightly to the profile for grants of work visas in 2011, with 7 of the top 10 nationalities also in the top 10 nationalities issued with visas for work. A notable difference was South Africa, ranked fourth for permission to stay permanently, but not seen in the top 10 for visas. Analysing the data in 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’.

As part of the application process for visas and extensions, individuals must obtain a certificate of sponsorship from an employer. This release contains certificate of sponsorship 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.

UKBA 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 26,344 employers on the register on 2 April 2013, 6% higher than 30 March 2012 (24,824).

Skilled individuals (Tier 2)

In the year ending March 2013, there were 7% more sponsored visa applications (main applicants) as skilled individuals than the previous 12 months (from 39,501 to 42,112). The majority of the 42,112 certificates used related to the Information and Communication (18,006, up 9%), Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (7,594, up 4%), Manufacturing (2,405, up 8%), Education (2,135, up 42%), and Financial and Insurance Activities (5,276, down 6%) sectors and there were also notable falls for the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (540, down 24%) and Accommodation and Food Service Activities (443, down 17%) sectors. These sectors also accounted for most (71%) of the 30,265 certificates used for applications for extensions.

Youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5)

In the year ending March 2013, there were 5% more sponsored visa applications (main applicants) as youth mobility and temporary workers than the previous 12 months (from 38,460 to 40,366). The large majority of these 40,366 certificates related to the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (29,404, up 4%) and Education (4,044, up 7%) sectors. The total number of extensions in the year ending March 2013 for Tier 5 was 404, the relatively small numbers reflecting the rules relating to extensions for such workers.

3.5 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% for migrants issued skilled work visas in 2004. Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey Third Report.

3.6 Data tables

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

3.7 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.

These various statistics and research 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.

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. For further information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics, see the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the User Guide. The Work section details changes made in immigration legislation affecting these data including the closure in December 2010 of the Tier 1 (General) category for new applicants for entry clearance, and changes to Tier 1 (high value) and Tier 2 (skilled) from April 2011.

All data for 2011, 2012 and 2013 are provisional (IPS and extensions data are final for 2011).

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 reports and publication.

Salt, J., 2011, International Migration and the United Kingdom: Report of the United Kingdom SOPEMI Correspondent to the OECD, 2011, London: Migration Research Unit.

4. Study

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

4.1 Introduction

This topic brief 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).

4.2 Key facts

The numbers of visas issued, admissions and long-term immigration for study have continued to fall since mid-2011, though less quickly than previously. There was a 9% (-19,745) fall in study visas issued in the year ending March 2013 (206,814) compared with the year ending March 2012. For the year ending September 2012, provisional IPS estimates of long-term immigration fell by 25% compared with the year ending September 2011 (from 196,000 to 146,000). Study-related admissions for the year ending June 2012 fell 30% compared with the previous 12 months (from 303,000 to 212,000).

Most of the 19,745 (-9%) fall in visas issued for study (excluding student visitors) related to falls of 14,413 (-62%) and 9,827 (-38%) for Pakistani and Indian nationals. There were some increases for other nationalities, including an increase of 5,476 (+10%) for Chinese nationals, the top nationality in 2012.

In contrast there was a 6% increase in student visitor visas issued, to 69,542 for the year ending March 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.

There was a 10% fall in sponsored visa applications (main applicants) to study for the year ending March 2013 (207,751) compared with the previous 12 months (231,088). This change was not uniform across the different educational sectors. There was a 5% increase for the university sector and falls of 46%, 46% and 7% respectively for the further education sector, English language schools and independent schools.

The falls in study-related immigration since the middle of 2011 are consistent with large-scale changes to the student visas system from April 2011.

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 January–March 2013, before entry tables 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 steeper increases in all three series during 2009. 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 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 and the time difference between a visa being issued and the individual arriving.

4.3 Visas

The number of visas issued for study (excluding student visitors) fell by 9% (-19,745) from 226,559 in the year ending March 2012 to 206,814 in the year ending March 2013.

The 19,745 (-9%) fall was more than accounted for by falls of 14,413 (-62%) and 9,827 (-38%) for Pakistani and Indian nationals. There were some increases for other nationalities; particularly notable was an increase of 5,476 (+10%) for Chinese nationals.

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

(Total 209,804)

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 January–March 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, Pakistan) accounting for over half (53%).

4.4 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 in other sections of this briefing.

In 2012, 68,372 student visitor visas were issued, 11% more (+6,966) than 2011. The number of visas issued to student visitors has increased steadily since the category was introduced in September 2007. Most of the 6,966 increase related to Asian nationals (+3,593), with increases of 1,759, 596 and 827 for Chinese, Japanese and South Korean nationals. There was also an increase for Libyans (+1,492).

Top 10 nationalities issued student visitor visas, 2012

(Total 68,372)

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 January–March 2013, before entry table be 06 q s.

The top 10 nationalities accounted for over two-thirds (70%, 47,865) of the 68,372 student visitor visas issued in 2012.

Although there has been a 6,966 increase in student visitor visas issued in 2012 at the same time as a fall in study visas by 52,066, the pattern of these changes for individual nationalities does not indicate a clear or consistent relationship. The nationalities accounting for most of the 52,066 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 +73, +20, +8 and -12 respectively.

There were 262,000 student visitor admissions in 2011. Of those arrivals admitted as student visitors in 2011, nearly half (44%) were from the United States (115,000) with Brazil the next largest nationality (7%, 19,300).

Six 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.

4.5 Admissions

Latest data show that there were 30% (-91,000) fewer study-related admissions in the year ending June 2012 (212,000) than in previous 12 months.

4.6 Immigration for study

IPS estimates show that for the year ending September 2012, there were an estimated 25% fewer long-term study-related migrants (146,000) than in the previous 12 months (196,000).

Source: ONS, Long-Term International Migration.

4.7 Extensions of stay

There were 2% fewer study-related grants of extension in the year ending March 2013 (99,011) compared with year ending March 2012 (100,808).

As part of the application process for study visas and extensions, individuals must obtain a confirmation of acceptance for studies from a sponsoring educational institution. On 2 April 2013 there were 1,820 educational institutions on UKBA’s register, 4% lower than 2 January 2013 (1,983) and 14% lower than 30 March 2012 (2,119). This 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 January–March 2013, before entry table cs 09 q.

There were 10% fewer study-related sponsored visa applications in the year ending March 2013 (207,751) compared with the previous 12 months, but the change was not uniform across the education sectors. There were 5% more sponsored visa applications for the university sector (UK-based Higher Education Institutions, to 157,241), and falls of 46%, 46% and 7% respectively in the further education sector (tertiary, further education or other colleges to 29,731), English language schools (to 3,470) and independent schools (to 13,798).

There were also corresponding falls of 11% (-29,876, to 231,684) and 9% (-19,745, to 206,814) in study-related visa applications and visas issued (excluding student visitors) in the year ending March 2013 compared with the previous 12 months.

There were 90,099 sponsored applications for extensions in the year ending March 2013, 4% fewer than the previous 12 months, but, again, the change was not uniform across the education sectors. The university sector was similar to the previous period (UK-based Higher Education Institutions, at 54,318), although there were falls of 4% and 51% respectively in the further education sector (tertiary, further education or other colleges to 30,411) and English language schools (to 1,621) and 6% more sponsored applications for extensions for independent schools (to 2,303).

4.9 Staying in the UK

The Migrant Journey Third Report reported that 1 in 5 (18%) 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%) migrants issued student visas in 2004. Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey Third Report.

4.10 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, international migration.

4.11 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 Migration 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.

All data for 2011, 2012 and 2013 are provisional (2011 IPS data are final).

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

Statistics on Students and qualifiers at UK higher education institutions including analysis of overseas student numbers are available from published statistics released by The Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA).

5. Family

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

5.1 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.

5.2 Key facts

In the year ending March 2013, numbers of family-related visas issued (37,470) fell by 16%, while grants of extensions of stay (24,877) and permission to stay permanently (53,258) reversed previous trends and increased by 45% and 4% respectively. Further details are below. There was also a 7% fall in the number of visas issued to all other dependants (excluding visitors) in the year ending March 2013 (71,068) compared with the previous 12 months, although the decline seems to be flattening.

In the year ending September 2012, IPS long-term estimates for those accompanying or joining others in the UK were 42,000, significantly lower than 55,000 in the year ending September 2011.

Decreases in the number of visas issued to dependants coming to the UK 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.

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. Estimates fr

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January-March 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.

5.3 Visas

The number of entry clearance visas issued to those on the ‘family route’ fell 16% in the year ending March 2013 to 37,470 compared with 12 months earlier (44,585). 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 (-935), followed by Nepal (-678) and India (-605). The fall for United States nationals mainly occurred between April and December compared to the same period a year earlier. Visas issued to Nepalese and Indian nationals on the ‘family route’ have both shown falls since peaks during 2010. Visas issued to nationals of Nepal fell from 5,146 in the year ending September 2010 to 2,176 in the year ending March 2013. In the last 12 months 3,080 visas were issued to Indian nationals, a fall from 4,673 in the year ending December 2010.

The 16% fall in family-related visas issued consisted of a 17% fall for partners (to 28,426), an 11% fall for children (to 3,982) and a 13% fall for other dependants (to 5,062).

There has also been a 7% fall in the number of visas issued to all other dependants (excluding visitors) not part of the ‘family route’ in the year ending March 2013 (71,068) compared with 12 months earlier (76,725). This consisted of a 3,165 fall for dependants of students (down 16% to 16,737), a 1,124 fall in the number of visas issued for dependants of workers (down 3% to 42,627), and a 1,368 fall for all other dependants (excluding visitors, down 10% to 11,704).

5.4 Admissions

Admissions for family reasons fell to 29,500 in the year ending June 2012 (compared with 36,100 in the previous 12 months), continuing the overall trend since 2006.

The numbers of passengers recorded as entering the country for family reasons are much lower than numbers of visas issued. Some of those that are identifiable as coming for family reasons in the visa data are not identifiable in the admissions data and are included within ‘Others given leave to enter’.

5.5 Immigration for family reasons

Provisional IPS estimates of non-EU nationals accompanying or coming to join family or friends for a year or more were 42,000 in the year ending September 2012, significantly lower than the 55,000 in the previous 12 months. Prior to this, levels in the previous rolling years had remained broadly similar.

Source: ONS, Long-Term International Migration.

5.6 Extensions of stay

Family-related grants of extensions rose by 45% (+7,750) to 24,877 in the year ending March 2013, reversing the decreasing trend in recent years. Of the 7,750 increase, 5,670 are due to grants in the new Family Life (10-year route) 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 16,976 to 19,139, showing signs of a return to recent levels of extensions but still much lower than 2008 (27,094).

Half the 24,877 grants in the year ending March 2013 were made in the first quarter of 2013, a larger contribution than any other quarter within the available data. This may reflect additional resource deployed to decision making at the beginning of 2013.

In addition, there were grants of extension for 53,450 dependants of workers, 12,581 dependants of students and 4,756 other dependants, overall a 23% (+13,192) increase compared to the year ending March 2012.

5.7 Settlement

Family formation and reunion grants of settlement rose by 4% (+1,932) to 53,258 in the year ending March 2013, although still much lower than the previous three years and following an overall fall from a peak of 75,852 in the year ending March 2010. The increase is more than accounted for by increases in the number of grants to husbands and wives which, combined, saw increases of 9% (+3,774) on the previous year and returned to earlier levels.

5.8 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.

5.9 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, international migration.

5.10 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 the UK Border Agency can also affect the number of decisions. In July 2012 legislative 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; hence there is currently no reference to the measurement of the impact of these changes.

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.

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 2011, 2012 and 2013 are provisional (2011 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.

6. Before Entry

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

6.1 Introduction

The figures in this topic briefing relate to applications for and issue of entry clearance visas and passengers refused entry at ports. Entry clearance visas exclude those in transit or visiting the UK.

6.2 Key facts

There were 499,780 visas issued in the year ending March 2013, excluding visitor and transit visas. This was 6% lower than the year ending March 2012 (529,905) and the lowest recorded figure using comparable data available from 2005. There was also a corresponding 7% fall in applications for the year ending March 2013 (from 612,345 to 568,535).

The number of work, study (excluding student visitors) and family-related visas issued fell 5%, 9% and 16% respectively compared with the year ending March 2012 (to 141,800, 206,814 and 37,470 respectively). There were corresponding falls in the number of visa applications for work (-6%), study (excluding student visitors, -11%) and family reasons (-10%) over the same period. The number of work and family-related visas are now at their lowest recorded level using comparable data, while study visas have fallen to levels last seen during 2006. Falls in the number of visas issued for these types of visas are consistent with policy changes related to these routes of entry which began to come into effect from the end of 2010.

In contrast, there was a 6% increase in student visitor visas issued in the year ending March 2013 to 69,542 (corresponding to a 3% increase in applications). Student visitor visas are issued for short-term study (typically for 6 months) and cannot be extended.

Indian nationals were issued the highest number of visas in the year ending March 2013 (75,653, 15%), followed by nationals of China (73,897, 15%) and the United States (34,394, 7%).

The number of passengers refused entry at port fell 5% in the year ending March 2013 (to 15,569) compared with the year ending March 2012. This fall continues the previous falls seen since the year ending March 2005 (33,748).

Visas issued by reason

  Total issued (1) Work Study Student visitors (2) Family Dependant joining / accompanying Other
Year ending March 2008 580,232 189,605 215,405 35,926 59,802 45,989 33,505
Year ending March 2009 577,648 182,073 235,611 42,203 52,236 34,467 31,058
Year ending March 2010 604,014 152,993 313,309 38,756 49,443 16,001 33,512
Year ending March 2011 609,337 161,809 295,086 51,137 52,768 15,690 32,847
Year ending March 2012 529,905 148,589 226,559 65,361 44,585 13,072 31,739
Year ending March 2013 499,780 141,800 206,814 69,542 37,470 11,704 32,450
Change: latest year -30,125 -6,789 -19,745 +4,181 -7,115 -1,368 + 711
Percentage change -6% -5% -9% +6% -16% -10% +2%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 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 topic briefing.

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 January–March 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 topic briefing.

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 topics.

6.3 Visas issued by nationality

Over half (53% or 266,400) of the 499,780 entry clearance visas issued in the year ending March 2013 were to Asian nationals with a further 62,346 (12%) and 57,837 (12%) issued to nationals of the Americas and Africa. Indian nationals were issued the highest number of visas in the year ending March 2013 (75,653, 15%), followed by nationals of China (73,897, 15%) and the United States (34,394, 7%).

The 19,745 (-9%) fall in visas issued for study (excluding student visitors) was more than accounted for by falls of 14,413 (-62%) and 9,827 (-38%) for Pakistani and Indian nationals. The largest increase was for Chinese nationals (5,476, or +10%).

Within the 4,181 (+6%) increase in visas issued for student visitors, there were increases from 269 and 7,696 to 2,084 and 9,177 for the year ending March 2013 for nationals of Libya and China. The rise in the number of student visitor visas issued to Libyans is consistent with a return to previous levels, following civil unrest in Libya and represents just 3% of all student visitor visas issued.

For those issued visas for family reasons, the largest falls were for nationals of the United States (935, -35%), Nepal (678, -24%) and India (605, -16%). 

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 January–March 2013, before entry tables 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.

From the year ending September 2009 onwards, those with an Asian nationality have accounted for over half of visas issued and recent fluctuations in the number of visas issued have been largely accounted for by Asian nationals. Asian nationals accounted for 53% (266,400) of the 499,780 visas issued in the year ending March 2013.

6.4 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).

6.5 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 UK Border Agency 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 topic briefing.

The data in this briefing include dependants, unless stated otherwise. Data for visas prior to 2005 are not comparable.

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 UKBA as part of their key input and impact indicators, UKBA ‘our performance’.

7. Admissions

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

7.1 Introduction

The figures in this topic brief 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.

7.2 Key facts

The total number of admissions was 106.6 million in the year ending March 2013, similar to the previous 12 months (only increasing 0.6% from 106.0 million). However, there was a fall in the third quarter total for 2012 (33.7 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.

In the year ending March 2013 there were an extra 1.3 million journeys by British, other EEA and Swiss nationals (93.9 million), compared with the previous 12 months (92.6 million). By contrast, there were, correspondingly, 0.7 million fewer journeys by non-EEA nationals (falling from 13.4 million to 12.7 million).

For non-EEA nationals the latest more detailed data by purpose of journey, for the year ending June 2012, showed a 1% increase to 13.2 million. This was more than accounted for by a 3% increase in visitors from 7.6 million to 7.8 million, and a 20% increase (from 246,000 to 295,000) in student visitors. There were falls of 12%, 30% and 18% for the work, study and family categories, which may reflect policy changes for the work and study routes which came into effect during 2011.

Admissions by purpose of journey - non-EEA nationals

  Total admissions Work Study Student visitors(1) Family Visitors Other
Year ending June 2008 13.2 million 186,000 294,000 64,500 49,900 7.4 million 5.2 million
Year ending June 2009 12.1 million 175,000 239,000 158,000 40,900 6.7 million 4.8 million
Year ending June 2010 12.4 million 159,000 320,000 227,000 35,400 6.9 million 4.8 million
Year ending June 2011 13.1 million 161,000 303,000 246,000 36,100 7.6 million 4.8 million
Year ending June 2012 13.2 million 142,000 212,000 295,000 29,500 7.8 million 4.7 million
Change on latest year +0.1 million -19,600 -90,500 +49,600 -6,620 +0.2 million -0.1 million
Percentage change +1% -12% -30% +20% -18% +3% -1%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 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 topic briefing.

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 January–March 2013, admissions table ad 01.

7.3 Non-EEA nationalities admitted to the UK, 2011

Data by nationality for 2012 are planned to be published in Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, due to be released in August 2013 when further analysis of 2012 data is made.

United States nationals accounted for more than a quarter (28%) of the 13.3 million journeys by non-EEA nationalities into the UK. The top 10 nationalities accounted for 69% of all journeys made.

Top 10 nationalities admitted, 2011

(Total number of admissions 13.3 million)

The chart shows admissions by nationality in 2011. The chart is based on data in table ad_03.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 2013, admissions table ad 03.

7.4 Data tables

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

7.5 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 March 2013 (Table ad 01 q); data on the purpose of journey (e.g. visit, work, study) are available up to the year ending June 2012 (Table ad 02 q); and data for individual nationalities are available up to the calendar year 2011 (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’ topic.

Further information on visitors to the UK is published by the Office for National Statistics in ‘Overseas Travel and Tourism–August 2012’.

Historical data on travel trends from 1980 to 2011 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 UK Border Agency as part of their key input and impact indicators, UKBA ‘our performance’.

8. Asylum

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

8.1 Introduction

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

8.2 Key facts

In the year ending March 2013, there were 22,592 asylum applications, a rise of 2,786 (+14%) on the previous 12-month period. This follows a smaller increase the previous year (+8%). The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132), and similar to levels seen since 2005. This increase in the latest year is driven by rises in applications from a number of nationalities, particularly nationals of Pakistan (+811), Syria (+686), Albania (+484), India (+458) and Bangladesh (+292).

The number of initial decisions on asylum applications has increased by 4% (+691) to 17,706 in the year ending March 2013 on the previous 12-month period. The rise is driven by increases in the first quarter of 2013 and in particular coincides with the large proportionate 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 another type of grant has increased to 37% (6,596) in the year ending March 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 March 2013 there were 5,719 asylum grants, the highest since the year ending June 2003.

At the end of March 2013, 14,225 of the applications received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review), 24% more than at the end March 2012.

Asylum applications and initial decisions for main applicants

  Total applications Initial decisions Granted (1) Refused
Year ending March 2010 20,441 24,510 5,955 (24%) 18,555 (76%)
Year ending March 2011 18,411 19,818 5,307 (27%) 14,511 (73%)
Year ending March 2012 19,806 17,015 5,782 (34%) 11,233 (66%)
Year ending March 2013 22,592 17,706 6,596 (37%) 11,110 (63%)
Change on latest year +2,786 +691 +814 -123
Percentage change +14% +4% +14% -1%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 2013, asylum table as 01.
(1) Granted includes grants of asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, leave to remain under family life rules and leave to remain under private life rules.
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 number of asylum applications made for calendar years back to 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 January–March 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) Juxtaposed controls, full immigration controls operated by UK immigration officers, were opened in France and Belgium in 2002 and 2004.
(3) Fast-track facilities for asylum applications were introduced in 2003.

Asylum applications were up 10% in 2012 (21,785) compared with 2011 (19,865), although the annual number of applications remains low relative to the 2002 peak with only 2010 having a lower annual figure than 2011.

Falls in asylum applications since 2002 coincide with the introduction in 2002 of a process preventing certain nationalities from appealing a decision while in the country, 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.

8.4 Nationalities applying for asylum

The highest number of applications in the year ending March 2013 were from nationals of Pakistan (3,439), which also saw the highest increase in applications between the year ending March 2013 and the previous 12-month period (+811 or +31%). Syria, ranked fourth, saw the next highest increase (+686, 1,166 applications in the year ending March 2013 compared with 480 in the previous 12-month period).

World events have an effect on which nationals are applying for asylum at any particular time. For example, there has been a large proportionate increase in the number of applicants from Syria since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. 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 219, reflecting a more stable situation in Libya.

Top 10 nationalities applying for asylum, year ending March 2013

(Total number of applications 22,592)

The chart shows the number of asylum applications by nationality made in the year ending March 2013. The data are available in table as_01_q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 2013, asylum table as 01 q.

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 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 2011, over half (59%) were between the ages of 21 and 34 and 73% were male.

Outcome of asylum applications, by year of application

The chart shows the outcome of asylum applications made between 2004 and the latest calendar year as at May 2012. The data are available in table as_06.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics October–December 2012, asylum table as 06. Information on the outcome of asylum applications will be updated in the Immigration Statistics April-June 2013 release in August, when further analysis of 2012 data will be available.

Following through the 19,865 main applicants who applied for asylum in 2011, as at May 2012 when the statistics were compiled, an estimated 7,347 (37%) had been granted asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave at either initial decision or appeal; 9,948 (50%) cases had been refused and a further 2,570 (13%) were awaiting confirmation of an initial decision or appeal. 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; and the proportion gradually increased year on year to 39% in 2009.

The higher number of applications and grants of asylum in 2008 and 2009 compared to other years is related to the large number of nationals of Zimbabwe applying for asylum in late 2008 and early 2009. Of the 5,613 main asylum applicants from Zimbabwe in 2009, 3,128 (56%) were granted asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave at either initial decision or appeal and 2,395 cases were refused.

8.5 Applications pending

At the end of March 2013, 14,225 of the applications received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review), 24% more than at the end March 2012. The increase can be accounted for by an increase in the number pending an initial decision (+46%); the numbers pending further review having decreased by 5%.

8.6 Asylum appeals

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service received 8,231 asylum appeals from main applicants in the year ending March 2013. This is a slight increase compared with the year ending December 2012 but is still the second lowest number since records began in 2007.

In the year ending March 2013, the proportion of appeals dismissed was 67% and allowed was 26%; the remainder were withdrawals.

Asylum appeals received and determined for main applicants

  Appeals received Total appeals determined Allowed Dismissed Withdrawn
Year ending March 2010 15,840 14,605 4,267 (29%) 9,798 (67%) 540 (4%)
Year ending March 2011 13,058 13,659 3,703 (27%) 9,355 (68%) 601 (4%)
Year ending March 2012 9,373 9,747 2,549 (26%) 6,506 (67%) 692 (7%)
Year ending March 2013 8,231 7,936 2,066 (26%) 5,280 (67%) 590 (7%)
Change on latest year -1,142 -1,811 -483 -1,226 -102
Percentage change -12% -19% -19% -19% -15%

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 2013, asylum table as 14 q.

Data from the UK Border Agency 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.

8.7 Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Annual applications from Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASCs) fell by 16% between 2011 (1,398) and 2012 (1,168 applications), continuing falls since a peak of 4,285 in 2008. This decreasing trend has been influenced by falling applications from nationals of Afghanistan, although they still form the highest nationality group. Over a fifth (21%) of UASC applications were made by male nationals of Afghanistan and just under a fifth (19%) were made by male nationals of Albania; overall 82% (961) of applications were from male applicants. In 2012, 5% of main applicants were UASCs.

A total of 870 initial decisions were made on UASC applications in 2012, a decrease of 36% compared to 2011 (1,353).

Home Office Statistics plan to change the method for counting UASCs and age disputes from August to better reflect an applicant’s status during the asylum process. For more details please see ‘Future changes’ in ‘About this release’.

8.8 Age disputes

The UK Border Agency disputes the age of some asylum applicants who claim to be children. In 2012, 328 individuals had their age disputed, a decrease of 12% compared with 2011 (374) and continuing recent year-on-year decreases. Since 2008, falls in the number of age disputes have followed trends in falls of UASC applications. For example, the large fall (-57%) in the number of age disputes from 1,129 in 2009 to 489 in 2010 mirrors the large fall (-46%) in the number of UASC applications from 3,174 in 2009 to 1,717 in 2010.

In 2012, of the 328 applicants, nationals of Afghanistan formed the highest proportion, 23% (76 individuals), followed by nationals of Vietnam, 15% (50 individuals).

8.9 Dependants

In 2012, the 21,785 asylum applications received accounted for 27,486 individuals when dependants were included, 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 26 main applicants for nationals of Eritrea to 1 dependant for every 2 main applicants from Nigeria.

Initial decisions were made relating to 4,961 dependants in 2012. Of these 1,383 (28%) were granted asylum, 324 (7%) were granted a form of temporary protection, and 3,254 (66%) were refused. The proportion being refused asylum is higher than main applicants in 2012 (64%), although lower than the proportion for dependants in 2011 (72%).

8.10 Support

There were 11,478 support applications from asylum seekers (Section 95 support) in 2012, having fallen from a peak of 68,624 in 2002.

At the end of March 2013, 20,860 asylum seekers were being supported under Section 95, a decrease of 133 (-1%) on the previous year. Numbers receiving Section 95 are low relative to the number in receipt of support in December 2003, which is the start of the current data series, when 80,123 asylum seekers were receiving Section 95 support. Numbers supported under Section 95 includes dependants.

The number of failed asylum seekers receiving Section 4 support at the end of March 2013 was 2,968, an increase of 736 (+33%) on the previous year. The number of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 peaked at the end of September 2009 when 12,019 asylum seekers were receiving this support.

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

8.11 Resettlement

In addition to those asylum seekers who apply in the UK, resettlement schemes are offered to those who have been referred to the UK Border Agency 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 all previous years. This is more than double the previous year due to the scheduling of arrivals within an operating year of April to March, rather than a calendar year.

8.12 International comparisons

Including dependants, the estimated total number of asylum applications to the EU was 309,100 in 2012. The total number of asylum applications across the EU increased from 2011 (284,800) and was the highest since 2003.

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

(Total number of applications 309,100)

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 January–March 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 terms of asylum applications within the EU. 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 population in 2012, compared with 14th in 2011.

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.

8.13 Data tables

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

8.14 About the figures

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 UK Border Agency. 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. The figures presented here include unaccompanied children who go on to claim asylum and so can include some cases where an unaccompanied child at a later date makes a claim when they are over 18. Home Office Statistics plan to change the method for counting UASCs and age disputes from August to better reflect an applicant’s status during the asylum process. For more details please see ‘Future changes’ in ‘About this release’.

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 accommodation 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.

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

All data for 2011, 2012 and 2013 Q1 are provisional.

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

The UK Border Agency publishes data on asylum performance framework measures and the size of the controlled archive, UKBA,’ourperformance’.

9. Extensions of stay

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

9.1 Introduction

The figures in this topic brief 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.

9.2 Key facts

There was an increase of 2% (+5,486) in the total number of grants of extensions in the year ending March 2013 (281,552). This followed annual falls over the previous three years (from 366,564 in the year ending March 2009 to 276,066 in the year ending March 2012).

Work-related grants of extensions (144,056) were 11% (+14,506) higher in the year ending March 2013 than the previous 12 months, although still lower than four years ago (196,016 in the year ending March 2009). Further information is given in the detailed section below.

Family-related grants of extensions rose by 45% (+7,750) to 24,877, reversing the decreasing trend in the previous 3 years (from 26,218 in the year ending March 2009 to 17,127 in the year ending March 2012). Further information is given in the detailed section below.

Study-related grants of extensions fell by 2% (-1,797) to 99,011 continuing the falls since the year ending March 2011 (140,342). The falls are consistent with the tightening of the Immigration Rules for students since April 2011.

Grants in other categories fell by 52% (-14,973) to 13,608, mainly reflecting a fall in discretionary leave grants.

Grants to extend stay by reason, and refusals

  Total decisions Total grants Work Study Family Other Refusals
Year ending March 2009 398,785 366,564 196,016 130,622 26,218 13,708 32,221
Year ending March 2010 394,224 330,701 158,334 130,330 23,235 18,802 63,523
Year ending March 2011 369,163 307,957 124,732 140,342 20,374 22,509 61,206
Year ending March 2012 317,842 276,066 129,550 100,808 17,127 28,581 41,776
Year ending March 2013 318,341 281,552 144,056 99,011 24,877 13,608 36,789
Change: latest 12 months +499 +5,486 +14,506 -1,797 +7,750 -14,973 -4,987
Percentage change 0% +2% +11% -2% +45% -52% -12%

9.3 Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 2013, extensions table ex 01 q.

9.4 Grants of extension by category

There were 144,056 work-related grants of extension in the year ending March 2013, 11% higher than the previous 12 months but still lower than in the year ending March 2009 (196,016).

Grants to high value individuals for work (Tier 1) fell from 83,975 to 77,117 (-8%) in the year ending March 2013. This was more than accounted for by a fall in grants in the post-study work route (down from 46,739 to 23,149 with the figure for the first quarter of 2013 falling to 242 compared with 17,803 in the first quarter of 2012). This was partly offset by a rise in grants in the Tier 1 General route (from 35,872 to 51,096).

The post-study work route was closed to new applications on 6 April 2012 but existing applications continue to be processed after this date. 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. Changing resource priorities within the UK Border Agency and other policy changes to this route implemented in 2010 and 2011 have affected the number of people granted an extension in subsequent years. Details of the policy changes can be found in the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline.

Individuals who have graduated after studying in the UK can stay under other immigration routes if they meet the criteria. There was a 68% increase in grants of extensions for skilled workers (Tier 2) (from 32,858 to 55,183) in the year ending March 2013 which may partly reflect people who were previously granted an initial period of three years leave now applying for an extension.

Family-related grants of extensions rose by 45% (+7,750) to 24,877 in the year ending March 2013, after falling in the previous three years. Of the 7,750 increase, 5,670 were recorded under a category for the new Family Life (10-year route) which would previously have been considered for Discretionary Leave and counted within ‘other’ rather than as being 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 in family-related grants of extensions was accounted for by higher numbers of grants to spouses from 16,976 to 19,139, showing signs of a return to recent levels of extensions but still much lower than 2008 (27,094).

Half of the 24,877 family-related grants of extensions in the year ending March 2013 were made in the first quarter of 2013, a larger contribution than any other quarter within the available data. This may reflect additional resource deployed to decision-making at the beginning of 2013.

Study-related grants of extensions fell by 2% (-1,797) to 99,011 continuing the falls from the year ending March 2011 (140,342). The falls are consistent with the tightening of the Immigration Rules for students since April 2011, including a limit in the length of stay being introduced for most international students.

Grants in other categories fell by 52% (-14,973) to 13,608, 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; see details above.

The chart below illustrates longer-term trends in grants to extend stay for the calendar years 2005 to 2012.

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 January–March 2013, extensions table ex 01.

9.5 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 (excludes dependants)

(Total number of grants 197,377)

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 January–March 2013, extensions table ex 02.

9.6 Data tables

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

9.7 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 UKBA website:

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 UK Border Agency 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 UK Border Agency as part of their performance data. Details including an explanation of what the controlled archive contains, are given on the UKBA website, UKBA ‘our performance’.

10. Settlement

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

10.1 Introduction

The figures in this topic brief 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.

10.2 Key facts

In the year ending March 2013, the number of people granted permission to stay permanently fell by 9% (-13,483) to 137,394, accounted for by falls for work-related (-9,584) and discretionary or other grants (-7,228). This continued the fall from 227,146 in the year ending March 2011.

Work-related grants to stay permanently fell 14% (-9,584) to 61,326, which continued the fall from 90,569 in the year ending March 2010.

Grants to stay permanently on a discretionary or other basis fell by nearly half (-46% or -7,228) to 8,584. 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, and the latest fall follows the completion of the review in 2011.

Family-related grants to stay permanently rose by 4% (+1,932) to 53,258 although they were still lower than the years ending March 2009 to 2011.

Asylum-related grants to stay permanently rose by 11% (+1,397) to 14,226. The lower levels in the years ending March 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 grant immediately, and instead they have been given 5 years’ temporary permission to stay.

Grants to stay permanently by reason, and refusals

  Total decisions Total grants Work Asylum-related Family Discretionary or Other Refusals
Year ending March 2009 162,614 153,987 62,525 2,999 62,378 26,085 8,627
Year ending March 2010 230,366 216,480 90,569 2,862 75,852 47,197 13,886
Year ending March 2011 237,656 227,146 75,138 7,461 60,570 83,977 10,510
Year ending March 2012 157,303 150,877 70,910 12,829 51,326 15,812 6,426
Year ending March 2013 141,592 137,394 61,326 14,226 53,258 8,584 4,198
Change: latest 12 months -15,711 -13,483 -9,584 +1,397 +1,932 -7,228 -2,228
Percentage change -10% -9% -14% +11% +4% -46% -35%

Table note

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 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 note

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 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 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.

10.3 Nationalities granted permission to stay permanently

Data for grants by nationality in 2012 are planned to be published in Immigration Statistics April–June 2013, due to be released in August 2013 when further analysis of 2012 data is included.

Of the total 166,878 grants in 2011, over half (53% or 88,528) were to Asian nationals and a further quarter (25% or 42,148) were to African nationals.

Top 10 nationalities granted permission to stay permanently, 2011

(Total 166,878)

The chart shows grants of settlement by nationality in 2011. The chart is based on data in table se_03.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 2013, settlement table se 03.

10.4 Data tables

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

10.5 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 UK Border Agency 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 2011, 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 UK Border Agency as part of their performance data. Details, including an explanation of what the controlled archive contains, are given on the UK Border Agency ‘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 report 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.

11. Citizenship

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

11.1 Introduction

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

11.2 Key facts

There were 12% more decisions (202,854) and 12% more people granted British citizenship (195,621) in the year to March 2013 than in the previous 12 months. These increases may reflect greater resource used for decision-making as there was an 11% fall in applications (to 179,067) over the same period (see citizenship table cz 01 q). The 11% fall in applications may in turn reflect the recent falls in grants of permission to stay permanently, known as settlement.

The increase in grants of British citizenship (+20,354) was largely accounted for by higher numbers of people granted on the basis of residence (up 11,527, to 107,152, the highest number since records began in 1962) or on the basis of marriage (up 5,260, to 39,644).

Grants and refusals of citizenship

  Total decisions Total grants Residence Marriage Children Other Refusals and withdrawals
Year ending March 2009 158,062 149,070 75,183 34,845 35,257 3,785 8,992
Year ending March 2010 207,568 197,847 95,308 51,028 47,244 4,267 9,721
Year ending March 2011 203,278 195,369 95,066 45,365 48,676 6,262 7,909
Year ending March 2012 181,832 175,267 95,625 34,384 40,512 4,746 6,565
Year ending March 2013 202,854 195,621 107,152 39,644 43,571 5,254 7,233
Change: latest 12 months +21,022 +20,354 +11,527 +5,260 +3,059 +508 +668
Percentage change +12% +12% +12% +15% +8% +11% +10%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 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 January–March 2013, citizenship table cz 03.

Overall, the numbers of applications and grants have risen from 2001 onwards, although applications fell back in 2012 as indicated above. 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 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).

11.3 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 of grants. Together, former Indian and Pakistani nationals accounted for almost a quarter (24%) of grants in 2012. 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).

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 January–March 2013, citizenship table cz 06.

11.4 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. In 2012, London remained the region with the highest proportion of ceremonies (42%).

11.5 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.

11.6 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 UK Border Agency 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 1998 to 2010.

12. Removals and voluntary departures

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

12.1 Introduction

The figures in this topic brief 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 UK Border Agency (UKBA) 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 UKBA, 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.

12.2 Key facts

Enforced removals from the UK decreased by 5% to 14,120 in the year ending March 2013 as compared with the previous 12 months (14,806).

The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed has fallen 9% in the year ending March 2013 to 13,606 from 14,966 for the previous 12 months. This continues an ongoing overall fall in these figures, with considerable decreases in 2009.

In the year ending March 2013, there was an increase of 4% in total voluntary departures to 28,309 compared with the previous year (27,136). This increase can be explained by the low quarterly figure in the second quarter of 2011 (at the start of the year ending March 2012). 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 Notified voluntary departures Other confirmed voluntary departures(1) Other confirmed voluntary departures as a % of voluntary departures
Year ending March 2008 17,598 32,002 15,943 4,180 3,763 8,000 50%
Year ending March 2009 16,760 31,717 18,730 4,547 3,818 10,365 55%
Year ending March 2010 15,192 26,378 25,281 5,129 4,967 15,185 60%
Year ending March 2011 14,967 17,196 26,840 4,009 6,364 16,467 61%
Year ending March 2012 14,806 14,966 27,136 3,219 7,575 16,342 60%
Year ending March 2013 14,120 13,606 28,309 3,744 6,268 18,297 65%
Change: latest year -686 -1,360 +1,173 +525 -1,307 +1,955 -
Percentage change -5% -9% +4% +16% -17% +12% -

Table notes:

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 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.

Of the voluntary departures, 65% of those departing were categorised as other confirmed voluntary departures, 22% as notified voluntary departures (where a person notifies UKBA that they have departed) and 13% as Assisted Voluntary Returns (AVRs - where financial assistance is provided).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 UKBA 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 18,297 in the year ending March 2013.

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 January–March 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. The 42% decrease in the number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently removed from the third quarter of 2009 (7,751) to the second quarter of 2010 (4,520) has no identified single cause. It is likely to be due to a combination of factors including a decrease in overall passenger volumes and full visa regimes being imposed, for example, for nationals of South Africa (July 2009) and Bolivia (May 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 agency improving its contact management with migrants and its ability to track those that are leaving the UK. The figures include those, identified by administrative exercises, who have overstayed their leave and left the UK without informing UKBA, and allow UKBA 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 are likely to 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, although quarterly figures have been fairly steady in recent years.

12.3 Asylum and non-asylum enforced removals

In the year ending March 2013, there were 4,873 enforced removals who had sought asylum at some stage, down 10% from the previous 12-month period (5,395) and 59% lower than 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 slightly they still remain low compared to the peak in 2002.

In the year ending March 2013, 65% of the total enforced removals had not claimed asylum at some stage, up 2% from the previous 12-month period (9,411) but down 8% from the peak of 10,070 in 2008.

12.4 Removals and voluntary departures by nationality

The highest number of enforced removals in the year ending March 2013 were for nationals of India (2,066). Nationals of Pakistan were the second highest with 1,972 enforced removals and they also saw the highest increase between the year ending March 2013 and the previous 12-month period (+386 or +24%).

Nationals of the United States saw the highest number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently departed (1,814) in the year ending March 2013 and they also saw the largest decrease in this category between the year ending March 2013 and the previous 12-month period (-217 or -11%). Nationals of Brazil were the second highest with 972 refused entry at port and subsequently departed in the year ending March 2013. Nationals of both these countries do not need to apply for and be issued with a visa prior to coming to the UK for less than six months, unless coming for work, 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 March 2013 were for nationals of India (7,228) and they also saw the highest increase between the year ending March 2013 and the previous 12-month period (+689 or +11%). Nationals of Pakistan were the second highest with 3,360 voluntary departures in the year ending March 2013.

12.5 Departures by ‘harm’ assessment

A 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.

In the financial year 2012/13, 14,120 enforced removals and 28,309 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.

12.6 Foreign national offenders

During the financial year 2012/13, 4,546 foreign national offenders were removed compared with 4,501 in 2011/12. Foreign national offenders are included within total enforced removals. UKBA removes foreign national offenders either by using enforcement powers or via deportation.

During the first quarter of 2013, 1,176 foreign national offenders were removed which represents a fall of 4% from the number of those removed in the first quarter of 2012 (1,219).

12.7 Data tables

Further data on removals and voluntary departures are available in:

12.8 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 whole of 2012 have been revised upwards from 15,866 to 18,504 (17% increase) and notified voluntary departures for the fourth quarter of 2012 have been revised up from 1,243 to 1,399 (13% 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 2011, 2012 and Q1 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 UKBA as part of their performance data, UKBA ‘our performance’.

13. Detention

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 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

In the year ending March 2013, 28,735 people entered detention, an increase of 4% compared with the previous year (27,596). Over the same period there was an increase of 6% in those leaving detention (from 27,163 to 28,761). Of those leaving detention, 60% were removed from the UK.

As of the end of March 2013, 2,853 people were in detention, 6% fewer than the number recorded at the end of March 2012.

In the first quarter of 2013, 37 children entered detention, a decrease of 16 on the first quarter of 2012, this fall coinciding with the closure of Tinsley House from 18 January to 20 March 2013 to new entrants due to an infectious illness. 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 in conjunction with the introduction of the ‘Family Returns Process’ to manage the removal of families in March 2011.

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

  Entering detention Leaving detention In detention
Year ending March 2011 26,033 26,172 2,654
Year ending March 2012 27,596 27,163 3,034
Year ending March 2013 28,735 28,761 2,853
Change: latest year +1,139 +1,598 -181
Percentage change +4% +6% -6%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January–March 2013, detention tables dt 01 q, dt 04 q and dt 09 q.

In the first quarter of 2013, 7,342 people entered detention, 2% fewer than the same quarter of the previous year (7,516) and 7,093 people left detention, 3% higher than the same quarter of the previous year (6,870).

13.3 Length of detention

Of the 7,093 leaving detention during the first quarter of 2013, 4,420 (62%) had been in detention for less than 29 days, 1,209 (17%) for between 29 days and two months and 912 (13%) for between two and four months. Of the 552 (8%) remaining, 56 had been in detention for between one and two years and 18 for two years or longer.

Of the 2,534 detained for seven days or less, 1,743 (69%) were removed and 735 (29%) were granted temporary admission or release. Of the 74 detained for 12 months or more, 24 (32%) were removed, 17 (23%) were granted temporary admission or release, 30 (41%) were bailed and 3 (4%) left for other reasons.

13.4 Children in detention

Since the start of 2011, the overall trend for children entering detention has risen with small fluctuations in the third quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, the latter fall coinciding with the closure of Tinsley House from 18 January to 20 March to new entrants due to an infectious illness.

In the first quarter of 2013, only 37 children entered, a decrease of 16 on the first quarter of 2012 (53) but an increase of 18 on the first quarter of 2011 (19). Of those children entering detention in the first quarter of 2013, 28 were detained at Cedars compared with 6 at Tinsley House, 1 at Campsfield House, 1 at Pennine House and 1 at Yarl’s Wood.

Of the 38 children leaving detention in the first quarter of 2013, 24 were removed from the UK and the remaining 14 were granted temporary admission or release. Of those leaving detention, 34 had been detained for less than three days, three for between four and seven days and one had been detained, in Campsfield House, for between two and three months. The percentage of children removed from the UK on leaving detention has risen from 41% in 2010 to 48% in 2012 and 63% in the first quarter of 2013.

Children entering detention, solely under Immigration Act powers

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 January–March 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 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 2011, 2012 and 2013 are provisional.

In December 2010, the Government announced its commitment to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes. A UK Border Agency ‘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 and 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 in adult detention facilities.

The User Guide also includes information on Cedars pre-departure accommodation.

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

Data on the family returns process are published as official statistics by the UK Border Agency as part of their performance data, UKBA ‘our performance’.

14. European Economic Area (EEA)

Valid: 23 May 2013 to 29 August 2013

14.1 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 topic briefing brings together the information that is available relating to EEA nationals.

14.2 Key facts

In the year ending March 2013 a large proportion (88%) of those entering the country were British, other EEA and Swiss nationals who have rights of free movement and are not subject to immigration control (see the admissions data table ad 01 q).

In the year ending September 2012, Long-Term International Migration estimates of those migrating for at least 12 months indicate that more British nationals emigrated from the UK (154,000) than immigrated to the UK (79,000) i.e. a net migration of -75,000. By contrast, fewer other EU nationals emigrated from the UK (83,000) than immigrated to the UK (148,000), i.e. net migration of +66,000.

For the EU2 countries (Bulgaria and Romania) in the year ending March 2013, approvals under the Sector Based Scheme (SBS) fell by two-thirds (-67%) to 240 compared with the year ending March 2012; and approvals under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) fell by 9% to 20,390.

In 2012 for the EU2 countries there were 2,452 applications for accession worker cards and 28,202 for registration certificates, down 26% and 20% respectively compared with 2011. There were corresponding falls in approvals to 1,717 and 20,090 (by -35% and -17% respectively).

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%).

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 January - March 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, 2011).

14.3 Admissions of EEA nationals

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 in 2011 and remained at the same level (62.8 million) in 2012 (the latest period for which an estimate is available).

Between 2001 and 2003, the number of 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 EEA passenger arrivals rose to 29.8 million in 2011 and 30.1 million in the year to September 2012. From 2007, arrivals will have been boosted by nationals of Bulgaria and Romania, following these countries becoming part of the EEA.

14.4 Migration of EU nationals

Provisional Long-Term International Migration estimates define immigrants as individuals who intend to stay for at least a year in the UK (or abroad for emigrants). In the year ending September 2012, Long-Term International Migration estimates of those migrating for at least 12 months indicate that more British nationals emigrated from the UK than immigrated to the UK (79,000 nationals immigrating and 154,000 emigrating, this representing a net migration of -75,000, a change from -60,000 in the previous 12 months). This compares with an estimated 148,000 other EU nationals immigrating and 83,000 emigrating in the year to September 2012, this representing a net migration of +66,000 (down from +75,000 in the previous 12 months).

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 18% of non-EU immigrants came for work while 59% came for study.

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

14.5 ‘EU2’ countries – Bulgaria and Romania

Applications for accession worker cards (required for work in the UK) 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 28,202, respectively). The corresponding data on approvals show falls of 35% (to 1,717) and 17% (to 20,090) in 2012.

Application and approvals data for the last two quarters of 2012 have been revised upward compared to data previously published following the allocation of additional resource to deal with these cases within UKBA. 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.

It is anticipated that the applications and approvals data for 2012 will be further revised upwards and more analysis of the 2012 data will be provided at a later date.

In the year ending March 2013 approvals under the Sector Based Scheme (SBS) fell by 67% to 240 compared to the previous 12 months and under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) fell by 9% to 20,390.

Approvals in Sector Based Scheme applications have fallen from a peak of 1,569 in 2008, but have since been below 1,000. The total for 2011 (787) was higher than 2009 (775) and 2010 (601) but approvals for 2012 fell to 330. The recent report of the Migration Advisory Committee ‘Migrant Seasonal Workers’ 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 an annual average of just over 20,000 for 2009 to 2011, rising slightly to 20,842 in 2012. They have fallen slightly in the year ending March 2013 (to 20,390), reflecting a lower number in the first quarter of 2013 than in the first quarter of 2012.

14.6 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 UKBA website provides details of documentation for EEA nationals, 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 UKBA 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.

14.7 Data tables

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

14.8 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). Other Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can apply for a registration certificate, giving proof of a right to live in the UK. Data for 2012 and the first quarter of 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 2011, 2012 and 2013 are provisional (2011 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 seeking asylum, a total of 86 in 2012. Half of these applicants were Polish nationals (43). In the year ending March 2013, a relatively small number of EEA nationals (1,823 enforced removals, 700 refused entry at port and subsequently departed and 2,605 voluntary departures) were removed or departed voluntarily. European legislation generally sets higher thresholds for deporting EEA nationals than exist for other foreign nationals.

Croatia is due to join the European Union (EU) on 1 July 2013. Transitional arrangements will be introduced to restrict Croatian nationals’ access to the UK labour market. The Accession of Croatia to the European Union report on the Home Office website provides more information on Croatia’s EU accession, including the Home Office Statement of Intent relating to Croatian accession to the EU.

The Home Office written statement ‘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.

15. About this Release

The Immigration Statistics quarterly release gives an overview of the work of 3 units within the Home Office: the UK Border Force, the visa and immigration service and the immigration law enforcement division. It helps inform users including the Government, Parliament, the media and the wider public, and supports the development and monitoring of policy.

While the UK Border Agency was abolished on 1 April 2013 and replaced by the latter 2 units referred to above, this release refers to the UK Border Agency throughout, as the data contained in this release are all relating to periods up to 31 March 2013.

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 first quarter of 2013 (January to March).

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.

15.1 Changes to topic briefings and tables

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

  • All data tables: As announced, in order to make published figures as accessible as possible to a wide range of users, tables are now published in Open Document Spreadsheet (ODS) format rather than Microsoft Excel.
  • Table volumes and Historical data tables: The smaller file sizes of ODS have allowed fewer separate volumes of tables to be published, with a maximum of 2 volumes per topic. These tables include all of the data that had been recently published in the ‘Historical data tables’. The aim is to have a consistent set of volumes/ spreadsheets over the next few years. It is hoped that this consistent approach will help users to find the tables that they require first time.
  • Extensions: Detailed extensions data for 2012, including breakdowns by nationality, have been included in this release, bringing forward revisions and the release of data usually made in August.
  • Work and study tables: As announced, the work and study tables wk.01 and st.01 are no longer published. The figures can be obtained from the Before Entry tables and Extensions tables, so this change removes duplication.

15.2 Revisions to data

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 notifications from those who have departed to be recorded. In this quarterly release, the other confirmed voluntary departures for the whole of 2012 have been revised upwards from 15,866 to 18,504 (17% increase) and notified voluntary departures for the fourth quarter of 2012 have been revised up from 1,243 to 1,399 (13% increase).

In addition to the usual revisions in the May release to the Citizenship data for the latest year, there have been minor revisions for data on ceremonies for 2008 to 2011 although the general trends are not affected. The data have been revised upward following additional reporting by a small number of Local Authorities. Data for 2008 were revised up 679 (+1%) to 95,453, for 2009 up 1,935 (+1%) to 153,876, for 2010 up 2,234 (+2%) to 145,279 and for 2011 up 3,655 (+3%) to 134,949.

15.3 Future changes

The following changes are planned for August 2013, subject to data quality and available resources:

  • Asylum support: It is intended to change the method for processing the figures for asylum support from the second quarter of 2013. The current process uses a bespoke method to process the data, which is extremely time-consuming and difficult to maintain. The new method allows Home Office Statistics better access to the data for data quality purposes and improved reconciliation with administrative records. 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 1 to 2%. Most of this difference is due to different extraction dates on live systems. In August, data for the first two quarters of 2013 will be published using the new method. Earlier data will continue to be as currently published.
  • Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) and Age Disputed Cases. An internal review of the UASC and age dispute data has highlighted issues with the definitions used for the published data.

UASCs

For UASCs, the published data include those who are recorded as having been an unaccompanied minor prior to the asylum application, but who are no longer an unaccompanied minor. As an example, an unaccompanied minor may apply for and obtain some form of non-asylum leave – such as leave to visit a parent or grandparent – and then at a later date apply for asylum when they are no longer a child or are now accompanied by an adult with parental responsibility. As a consequence, the UASC figures published are higher than the number of those who are applying for asylum who are unaccompanied minors at the point of, or after, application.

UASC applications

Proposal

New asylum applications during the quarter from main applicants who are recorded as an unaccompanied minor:
A. Prior to the date of the application and still recorded as such until at least the day after the application; or
B. On or after the date of application up to the date of extract or initial decision, whichever is earlier.
The published figure will be the sum of A + B split by sex and age group.

If the individual’s record puts them at age 18 or over on the date of application, they would not be counted.

User Considerations

It would not include individuals who were unaccompanied minors prior to asylum application but who are no longer recorded as such on the day of or before the asylum application.

It would include individuals who are awaiting an age assessment, but who are being treated as a UASC.

When the provisional quarterly data are first published, this would only include those who were recorded as being a UASC up to 2 months after the application. When the data are revised in the August following the end of the year, it would be anticipated that data would be revised upwards to include any individual recorded as becoming a UASC in the intervening time (up to May). However, it could be revised downwards if a date of birth was amended following an age assessment and the individual deemed to be over 18 at the time of application. Any individual first identified as a UASC 2 years after their initial application would never be counted.

UASC initial decisions

Proposal

Initial decisions during the quarter for those recorded as a UASC main applicant:
A. Prior to the date of the application and still recorded as such until at least the day after the application; or
B. On or after the date of application up to the date of decision.
The published figure will be the sum of A + B split by sex and age group (17 and under and 18 or over).

If the individual’s record puts them at age 18 or over on the date of application, they would not be counted.

User Considerations

It would not include individuals who were unaccompanied minors prior to asylum application but who are no longer recorded as such on the day of or before the asylum application.

This would show those who applied as UASCs but didn’t have a decision until post-18.

It would not include those who had an age assessment that put an individual as over 18 at the time of the application (based on the date of birth recorded at extract).

It may include those that were only briefly considered a UASC, in particular where the individual became accompanied.

Age disputed cases

For age disputes, the figures include those where the individual’s age had been disputed, but had been age assessed prior to the date of the asylum application. For example, an illegal immigrant identified by enforcement action who claimed to be an unaccompanied minor, whose age had been assessed but did not claim asylum until after assessment. Having reviewed the information available we consider it more appropriate to move to a definition based on whether an age dispute exists during the asylum application process, thus reducing the numbers as compared to those currently published.

Proposal

Number of asylum applicants who have their age disputed during a quarter, who:
- make their claim during the quarter who are already awaiting an age assessment;
- make their claim in the same quarter;
- are existing asylum applications (from previous quarters).

Number of asylum applicants who have an age assessment made during a quarter and whether listed as under 18 or 18+ on the date of the age assessment.

Number of asylum applicants with age disputes open at the end of the quarter and whether listed as under 18 or 18+ at the date of extract.

User Considerations

It would include those whose age was disputed prior to the asylum application and where the age assessment is carried out on the day of application.

It would include age assessments carried out the same day as the age is disputed, including on the day of application.

The outcome of the age assessment is not quantifiable from Home Office records; the age listed on the date the age assessment is made is the only alternative.

Shows age assessments still in progress.

It is proposed to stop publishing age disputes split by those who applied at port and in-country, as a review of this has suggested little interest in the split.

In August, it would be intended to publish data for 2012 and the first two quarters of 2013. Earlier data would not be published, at least initially.

If you have any comments on these plans please contact us via the Migration Statistics Enquiries inbox, MigrationStatsEnquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

15.4 National Statistics Assessment

Following improvements made in the May 2012 and August 2012 editions in response to the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) assessment of Immigration Statistics (Statistics on Immigration (Home Office)), UKSA wrote a letter (Letter of Confirmation as National Statistics) to the Home Office’s Chief Statistician confirming the designation of Immigration Statistics as National Statistics.

The UKSA has announced its provisional programme of re-assessments for 2013, including the migration statistics produced using data from Office for National Statistics; Department for Work and Pensions and Home Office. Details are at UK Statistics Authority Programme of Assessment.

15.5 Public Administration Select Committee inquiry

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) is examining the topic of migration statistics, as part of a programme of work on statistics and their use in government. The PASC has published oral and written evidence submitted at Commons Select Committee, Migration Statistics.

15.6 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.

15.7 User conference – 17 September 2013

A one-day migration statistics user conference is planned for 17 September 2013. There has already been a preliminary meeting of users to discuss the conference programme and the intention is to include a wide range of presentations by both producers and from users of the statistics. The presentations from the 2012 event are available via the JISCmail list (see above).

Details of the programme and how to book a place at the conference will be circulated via the email distribution list.

15.8 Home Office statistical work programme

The Home Office has recently published its Statistical Work Programme 2013/14 which outlines our most significant outputs, highlights some of our recent developments and outlines some of our 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 our outputs. We would welcome comments, preferably before the summer.

15.9 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.

16. Data tables

Listing of the data tables included in Immigration Statistics January to March 2013.

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