National Statistics

Immigration statistics, January to March 2015

Published 21 May 2015

This release presents the latest immigration statistics from Home Office administrative sources, covering the period up to year ending March 2015.

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

1. Summary Points: January to March 2015

Data include dependants unless stated otherwise. All data below relate to the year ending March 2015 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2014, unless indicated otherwise.

Estimates of the numbers of non-EU nationals migrating long-term to the UK, by reason for migration, are published by the Office for National Statistics, and available on their International Migration website.

1.1 Key points from the latest release

Admissions and refusals at port

The total number of journeys increased by 6% to a record 118.4 million in the year ending March 2015 (+6.2million). The increase was accounted for by 5.5 million more journeys by British, other EEA and Swiss nationals (up 6%) and 0.7 million more journeys by non-EEA nationals (up 5%).

The number of passengers refused entry at port rose by 11% to 18,373 in the year ending March 2015 (+1,803).

Work

The ONS estimates of the numbers of non-EU nationals migrating to the UK for work (excluding dependants) fell from a previous peak of 113,000 in the calendar year 2004 to 42,000 in the year ending June 2013. It has risen to 68,000 in the calendar year 2014, a 55% (+24,000) statistically significant increase compared with calendar year 2013. Over the same period long-term (1 year or more) work-related visas granted to main applicants also rose, by 13% (+7,687) to 67,061.

Including dependants and short term visas, there were 171,043 work-related visas granted in the year ending March 2015, up 9% (+14,720) compared with the previous year. The increase was largely accounted for by 13% higher skilled work visas (+10,648) and 26% higher Youth mobility visas (+5,268).

Study

The ONS estimates of the numbers of non-EU nationals migrating to the UK to study (excluding dependants) fell from a previous peak of 196,000 in the year ending September 2011 to 121,000 in the year ending June 2014. The numbers then increased to 135,000 in the year ending December 2014 (11% higher or +13,000 compared with year ending December 2013, though not statistically significant). In the year ending December 2014, long term (1 year or more) study-related visas granted (main applicants) rose 1% to 142,547.

Study-related visas (excluding student visitors) granted fell slightly to 216,466 in the year ending March 2015 (-1%; -2,442), with 1% and 11% falls respectively for visa applications (main applicants) sponsored by universities and by the further education sector.

Family

The ONS estimates of the numbers of non-EU nationals migrating to the UK to accompany or join others fell from a peak of 74,000 in the year ending December 2006 to 35,000 in the year ending June 2013. The numbers have since increased to 52,000 in the year ending December 2014, (16% higher or +7,000 compared with year ending December 2013, though not statistically significant). However, those arriving to accompany or join are not directly comparable with visa categories.

In the year ending March 2015, 34,713 family-related visas were granted, slightly lower (-1%) than the previous 12 months. There was a 1% increase in the number of visas granted to all other dependants (excluding visitor visas) joining or accompanying migrants in the UK (77,658).

Refusals accounted for 36% of decisions on family-related visa applications in the year ending March 2015, compared with 26% in the previous 12 months.

Asylum

There were 25,020 asylum applications (main applicants) in the year ending March 2015, an increase of 5% compared with the previous year (23,803). The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132).

In the year ending March 2015, the largest number of asylum applications (main applicants) came from nationals of Eritrea (3,552), followed by Pakistan (2,421) and Syria (2,222). Grant rates for asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or other grants of stay vary between nationalities. For example, 85% of the total initial decisions made for nationals of Eritrea and Syria were grants, compared with 22% for Pakistani nationals.

The UK had the fifth highest number (31,400) of asylum applications within the EU in 2014. In 2014, four EU countries received more asylum applicants than the UK – Germany (166,800), Sweden (81,300), France (63,100) and Italy (56,300).

Visitors

In the year ending March 2015, there were 2% fewer visitor visas granted at around 1.85 million, after excluding Omani, Qatari and United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals who were able to visit the UK without a visa from 1 January 2014, following the introduction of the Electronic Visa Waiver scheme.

There were notable increases in visitor visa grants for Chinese (+31,080 or +10%, excluding Hong Kong), and Indian (+12,869 or +4%) nationals, and large falls for Russian (-57,340 or -27%) and Ukrainian (-6,724 or -18%) nationals.

The latest data on non-EEA visitors arriving at the UK border, including those who do not need a visa, showed a 9% increase (0.7 million) to 8.8 million for the year ending June 2014, compared with the year ending June 2013.

1.2 Other points to note

Student visitors

There were 263,000 student visitor admissions in the calendar year 2013, much higher than student visitor visas granted (77,601 over the same period), largely accounted for by ‘non-visa nationalities’ (including the United States and Brazil). Such nationals do not need to obtain a visa to come to the UK as a student visitor for up to 6 months.

The number of student visitor visas granted fell by 13% (-10,592) to 68,794 in the year ending March 2015, after previously doubling from 37,703 in 2009 to 77,601 in 2013.

Extensions

Grants of extensions fell by 42,758 (-15%), with 28,645 fewer study-related grants and 20,138 fewer work-related grants. The fall in work-related extensions was largely due to 14,940 fewer Tier 1 General grants as this category has been closed to new entrants and 4,508 fewer grants for Tier 2 skilled workers. By contrast family-related grants increased by 1,542 with a 2,860 increase in grants for partners and a 1,298 fall for the Family Life (10 year route).

Looking at individuals’ previous category, 140,342 (78%) of the 179,033 extensions granted in 2014 (main applicants) allowed the individual to stay within their original broad category, with the other 22% having switched categories. An estimated 74,761 former students (main applicants) were granted extensions in 2014, compared with 112,432 for 2013. Of the former students, 7,043 were granted extensions for work in 2014 (mainly Tier 2 skilled work), compared with 6,238 in 2013.

Removals

Enforced removals from the UK decreased by 3% to 12,498 in the year ending March 2015 compared with the previous year (12,889).

The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed has increased by 12% in the year ending March 2015, to 16,255 from 14,548 for the previous year. While the figure is lower than that in 2004 (36,167), the number refused entry at port and subsequently departing has been increasing slowly since 2012.

Further, more detailed, analysis can be found below.

2. Data tables

Immigration statistics, January to March 2015: data tables.

3. Work

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

3.1 Introduction

This section includes figures on work-related visas granted, passenger arrivals, extensions granted and permissions to stay permanently (settlement) for non-EEA nationals. It also includes figures on long-term immigration to work (i.e. those intending to stay for at least 12 months for work) for non-EU nationals.

Data include dependants unless stated otherwise. Estimates of long term immigration for work from the ONS International Passenger Survey (IPS) relate to those whose main reason for migration is to work and so are likely to exclude dependants (who would be more likely to say their main reason was to ‘accompany or join’ rather than to work).

All data below relate to the year ending March 2015 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2014, unless indicated otherwise.

3.2 Key facts

There were 171,043 work-related visas granted in the year ending March 2015, up 9% (+14,720) compared with the previous year. The increase was largely accounted for by 13% higher skilled work visas (+10,648) and 26% higher Youth mobility visas (+5,268).

In the calendar year 2014, the ONS estimate that there were 68,000 non-EU long-term immigrants for work, a 55% (+24,000) statistically significant increase compared with 2013. Over the same period long-term (1 year or more) work-related visas granted to main applicants also rose, by 13% (+7,687) to 67,061. There are a range of potential reasons why long-term immigration estimates, which include considerable sampling variation, and visas data, may show different trends; details are given below.

The 13% increase in skilled work (Tier 2) visas granted in the year ending March 2015 corresponded with a 12% increase in sponsored visa applications for skilled work over the same period (to 55,589, main applicants). Most of the increase in applications was accounted for by for the three largest sectors: Information and Communication (23,541, +11%), Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (10,768, +20%), Financial and Insurance Activities (6,608, +10%).

Work-related grants of extensions fell by almost a fifth (-19% or -20,138) in the year ending March 2015 to 86,786. This fall was mainly accounted for by 14,940 fewer Tier 1 General grants (closed to new entrants). There was a 7% fall (-4,508) in grants of extensions for Tier 2 skilled workers to 60,531, corresponding to a 12% fall in sponsored applications (main applicants) for skilled workers.

Looking at individuals’ previous category, an estimated 7,043 former students (main applicants) were granted extensions for work in the calendar year 2014, mainly for skilled work, compared with 6,238 in 2013.

  Year ending March 2014 Year ending March 2015 Change Percentage change
Work-related visas granted 156,323 171,043 +14,720 +9%
of which:        
High value (Tier 1) visas 10,883 9,005 -1,878 -17%
Skilled (Tier 2) visas 82,419 93,067 +10,648 +13%
Youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5) visas 40,422 46,356 +5,934 +15%
Non-PBS/Other work visas 22,599 22,615 +16 +0%
  Year ending December 2013 Year ending December 2014 Change Percentage change
Long-term immigration for work (1), excluding dependants 44,000 68,000 +24,000 +55%
Long-term (1 year or more) work-related visas granted excluding dependants 59,374 67,061 +7,687 +13%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015 Visas table vi 04_q, International Passenger Survey, Office for National Statistics, Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.
(1) Immigration for work data are estimates of the number of non-EU nationals intending to change their residence to the UK for at least 12 months based on the International Passenger Survey.

There have been falls in work-related visas granted, admissions and non-EU immigration from 2006 to 2012. There have been increases more recently (and falls in extensions related to the previous closure of the Tier 1 General and Tier 1 Post Study categories to new applicants: see Extensions topic).

The chart below shows that work-related visas and admissions move in line with each other. International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of non-EU work immigration are substantially lower. However they show broadly similar trends with falls from 2006 followed by increases from the middle of 2013. Data on long-term work visas (1 year or more) for main applicants are much closer to the IPS series, and have become closer (the difference reducing from 47,000 in 2007 and 2008 to under 3,000 for the year ending September 2014). This may reflect changes made as part of the introduction of the Points-Based System in 2008, such as the introduction of the short- term intra-company transfer route.

However, there are a range of potential reasons why IPS figures may be different from figures for work visas granted or passenger arrivals, and hence why the trends in the different series do not match, including:

  • sampling variation in the IPS, (for example the increase of 24,000 in work-related immigration for the calendar year 2014 has an estimated confidence interval of +/-14,000)
  • IPS data for work relate to individuals whose main reason for migration was work related so (unlike visas data) are likely to exclude their dependants i.e. the IPS data are likely to be more comparable with visa main applicants than with total visas data
  • differences between intentions and visa length
  • individuals may migrate for multiple different reasons
  • timing differences between when visas are granted and when an individual actually travels
  • visa and admissions data include dependants, and both short term and long-term migrants

Further comparisons of the data are described in the user guide.

.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Visas table vi 04 q (Visas volume 1), Admissions table ad 02 q and corresponding datasets; Office for National Statistics, Migration.

3.4 Register of sponsoring employers

(Tier 2 Skilled workers and Tier 5 Youth mobility and temporary workers)

As part of the application process for visas and extensions for work reasons, main applicants must obtain a certificate of sponsorship from an employer. Sponsorship tables cs 01 q to cs 06 q provide data on the number of employers registered and their sponsor rating, the nationality of main applicants, and the corresponding numbers of main applicants for different industry sectors.

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 29,210 employers on the register on 31 March 2015, 6% more than on 1 April 2014 (27,625).

Skilled individuals (Tier 2)
There were 55,589 sponsored visa applications (main applicants) for skilled work (+12% or +6,003). Almost four-fifths (78%) of these applications were for Indian (31,058 or 56% of the total), US (6,666 or 12%), Australian (2,005 or 4%), Chinese (1,796 or 3%) or Japanese (1,747 or 3%) nationals.

The majority of the 55,589 applications related to skilled work in the following sectors:

  • Information and Communication (23,541, +11%)
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (10,768, +20%)
  • Financial and Insurance Activities (6,608, +10%)
  • Human Health and Social Work Activities (3,217, +37%)
  • Manufacturing (2,712, +8%)

There were 32,137 sponsored applications for extensions (main applicants) for skilled work (-12%). The majority of these related to the following sectors:

  • Information and Communication (6,502, -6%)
  • Human Health and Social Work Activities (5,120, -20%)
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (4,838, -8%)
  • Education (3,809, -7%)
  • Financial and Insurance Activities (3,722, +0%)

Youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5)
There were 45,114 sponsored visa applications (main applicants) for Youth mobility and temporary workers (+3%). Almost two-thirds (65%) of these applications were for US (21,592 or 48% of the total), Canadian (2,435 or 5%), Indian (2,238 or 5%), Australian (1,648 or 4%) or Chinese (1,634 or 4%) nationals.

The large majority of the 45,114 applications related to the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (31,853, up 1%) and Education (5,004, up 7%) sectors. There were a total of 818 sponsored applications for extensions for Tier 5, the relatively small numbers reflecting the rules relating to extensions for such workers.

3.6 Unsponsored work visas and extensions: Tier 1 (high value)

The 2010 report ‘Points-based system Tier 1: an operational assessment’ indicated that only small minorities of those in the T1 Post Study and T1 General categories were found to be in skilled work. Following this report, these categories were closed to new applicants and more recently (July 2014) the T1 Entrepreneur category has also been tightened for extensions, ‘Changes to the immigration rules will clamp down on visa abuse’. As a consequence, the total level of Tier 1 visas granted has continued to fall (-1,878 to 9,005) as have Tier 1 extensions (-16,286 to 15,911). Visas granted for the other categories in Tier 1 have increased although from relatively low levels (T1 investor up 47% to 2,700, T1 Graduate entrepreneurs up 151% to 216, T1 Exceptional Talent up 49% to 131).

3.7 Croatia

In the 21 months from accession to the EU on 1 July 2013, 1,171 applications were received from Croatians either for authorisation to work (i.e. for an accession registration certificate) or for a registration certificate confirming that the applicant was exercising a right to reside on a basis other than authorised employment. Of these, 504 were for accession worker registration certificates and 667 were for other registration certificates. As at 21 April 2015, 427 of the accession worker registration certificate applications and 544 other registration certificates had been approved.

3.8 ‘EU2’ countries – Bulgaria and Romania

EEA tables ee 01 and ee 01 q show a full breakdown of decisions by type in applications for EU2 accession worker cards and registration certificates between 2007 and 2013 along with cases outstanding as at 21 April 2015.

3.9 Extensions to stay for work, and permission to stay permanently (settlement)

Work-related grants of extensions fell by almost a fifth (-19% or -20,138) to 86,786. This fall was mainly accounted for by 14,940 fewer Tier 1 General grants (closed to new entrants), as well as a 7% fall (-4,508) for Tier 2 skilled workers to 60,531.

Looking at individuals’ previous category, an estimated 7,043 former students (main applicants) were granted extensions for work in 2014 (5,639 for Tier 2 skilled work), compared with 6,238 in 2013 (correspondingly 4,176).

There were 40,252 work-related grants to stay permanently, almost a quarter lower (-23% or -11,737). This fall partly reflects fewer work-related admissions occurring 5 years earlier. Settlement granted after 5 years with a work permit decreased from 10,921 to 1,442, reflecting the replacement of the work permit scheme by the Points-Based System. Grants to Tier 1 High Value individuals fell from 24,503 to 21,334 and is likely to reflect falls in visas and extensions, consistent with the past closure of Tier 1 General and Tier 1 Post Study categories to new entrants. Grants in the Tier 2 Skilled Work category rose from 10,055 to 13,347.

The Extensions topic and Settlement topic provide further detail on those granted work-related extensions of stay in the UK or work-related permission to stay permanently in the UK.

3.10 UK nationals and non-UK nationals: Employment levels

Estimates from the Labour Force Survey, Labour Market Statistics, May 2015, published by the ONS, show that the number of UK nationals in employment in January to March 2015 was 27.9 million, up 279,000 (+1.0%) compared with the same quarter in 2014.

The number of non-UK nationals in employment in January to March 2015 was 3.1 million, up 294,000 (+10.5%) compared with the same quarter in 2014. The 294,000 increase was almost entirely accounted for by higher employment of EU nationals (up 283,000 or 17.4% to 1.9 million). There were increases in employment for each of the EU14 (+16.4% or +113,000 to 800,000), EU8 (+15.7% or +126,000 to 929,000) and EU2 (+33.5% or +43,000 to 173,000) groups. By contrast the level of non-EU nationals in employment only increased slightly (+1% or +11,000, to 1.2 million).

The total growth in employment over the last year was 576,000, and around half (48.7%) of this growth can be accounted for by UK nationals.

3.11 Reason for migration and the labour market

IPS statistics and visa statistics represent flows of people, only a proportion of whom will remain for longer periods. A recent Home Office research report, ‘The reason for migration and labour market characteristics of UK residents born abroad’ (September 2014), uses ONS data from the Labour Force Survey to provide estimates of the number of residents born abroad by the reason for original migration.

A key finding of this was that the distribution of original purposes given for migrating by people resident in the UK who were born abroad is different from that produced when looking at the migration flows reported in the IPS. For example, the proportion of people who come for family purposes or as a dependant takes greater significance, because of the higher likelihood of people who come for relationship reasons to stay longer. Similarly, although many foreign students are temporary the analysis confirmed findings in other studies that a number of foreign students do stay on as residents.

3.12 Staying in the UK

In February 2015 the Home Office published its ‘Migrant Journey: Fifth Report’, which shows how non-EEA migrants change their immigration status or achieve settlement in the UK. Key results included:

  • 20% (18,359) of those issued skilled work visas (with a potential path to settlement) in the 2008 cohort had been granted settlement 5 years later and a further 8% (6,912) still had valid leave to remain
  • Indian nationals were issued the largest proportion (39%) of skilled work visas in the 2008 cohort and, of these skilled Indian nationals, 19% had received settlement after 5 years, while a further 7% still had valid leave to remain

Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey Fifth Report.

3.13 Data tables

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

4. Study

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

4.1 Introduction

This section includes figures on study-related visas granted, passenger arrivals and extensions granted for non-EEA nationals. It also includes figures on long-term immigration to study (i.e. those intending to stay for at least 12 months to study) for non-EU nationals.

Data include dependants unless stated otherwise. Estimates of long-term immigration for study from the ONS International Passenger Survey (IPS) relate to those whose main reason for migration is to study and so are likely to exclude dependants (who would be more likely to say their main reason was to ‘accompany or join’ rather than to study). All comparisons are with the previous 12 months unless indicated.

4.2 Key facts

Study-related visas (excluding student visitors) granted fell slightly to 216,466 in the year ending March 2015 (-1%; -2,442). Over the same period, the number of university-sponsored study visa applications (main applicants) also fell slightly (166,481; -1%) and there were falls for other sectors, notably an 11% fall for the further education sector (-2,241) to 18,297.

In the calendar year 2014, the ONS estimates that there were 135,000 non-EU long-term study immigrants, an 11% (+13,000) increase, though not statistically significant. Over the same period, long-term (1 year or more) study-related visas granted (main applicants) rose 1% to 142,547. There are a range of potential reasons why long-term immigration estimates, which include considerable sampling variation, and visas data, may show different trends, details below. By contrast, also in the year ending December 2014, the number of non-EU former students who were long-term emigrants from the UK was estimated to be much lower at 44,000.

There were higher numbers of study visas granted (excluding student visitors) for Chinese (+2,156 or +3%) and Malaysian (+688; +7%) nationals, and falls for Bangladeshi (-1,163; -38%), Indian (-1,068; -8%) and Pakistani (-945; -20%) nationals.

Study-related grants of extensions fell by over a quarter (-28%) to 73,465 in the year ending March 2015. Corresponding sponsored applications data (main applicants) showed a 27% fall, largely due to fewer applications for the further education sector. Refusals of study-related extensions increased by 39%. These trends are likely to reflect previous falls in the visas granted and tightening of the rules such as the new use of the “genuineness” test.

Looking at individuals’ previous category, an estimated 74,761 former students (main applicants) were granted extensions in 2014, compared with 112,432 for 2013. The majority (84%) allowed individuals to continue to study, and there was an increase in former students granted extensions to work (7,043 compared with 6,238 in 2013), mainly for skilled work.

  Year ending Mar 2014 Year ending Mar 2015 Change Percentage change
Study-related visas granted (excl. student visitors) 218,908 216,466 -2,442 -1%
of which:        
China 62,324 64,480 +2,156 +3%
United States 14,140 14,080 -60 -0.4%
India 13,169 12,101 -1,068 -8%
Nigeria 11,571 10,914 -657 -6%
Malaysia 10,035 10,723 +688 +7%
         
Student visitor visas (main applicants only) 79,386 68,794 -10,592 -13%
         
  Year ending December 2013 Year ending December 2014 Change Percentage change
Long-term immigration for study (1) excluding dependants (1) 122,000 135,000 +13,000 +11%
Long-term (1 year or more) study-related visas granted excluding dependants 140,658 142,547 +1,889 +1%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015 Visas table vi 04, Visas table vi 06 q s International Passenger Survey, Office for National Statistics, Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.
(1) Immigration for study data are estimates of the number of non-EU nationals intending to change their residence to the UK for at least 12 months based on the International Passenger Survey.

.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Visas table vi 04 q (Visas volume 1), Admissions table ad 02 q and corresponding datasets; Office for National Statistics, Migration.
(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 granted and passenger arrivals, with increases in all 3 series during 2009 and decreases after the year ending June 2011 (and study visas granted and IPS increasing more recently).

There are a range of potential reasons why IPS figures may be different from figures for study visas granted or passenger arrivals, and hence why the trends in the different series do not match, including:

  • sampling variation in the IPS (for example , the increase of 13,000 in study-related immigration for the calendar year 2014 had an estimated confidence interval of +/-21,000)
  • IPS data for study relate to individuals whose main reason for migration was study so (unlike visas data) are likely to exclude their dependants i.e. the IPS data are likely to be more comparable with visa main applicants than with total visas data
  • differences between intentions and visa length
  • individuals may migrate for multiple different reasons
  • timing differences between when visas are granted and when an individual actually travels
  • visa and admissions data include dependants, and both short-term and long-term migrants

Further comparison of the data is described in the user guide.

4.3 Register of sponsoring educational institutions

On 31 March 2015 there were 1,543 educational institutions on the UK Visas and Immigration register of sponsoring educational institutions. This was 2% lower than the number on 31 December 2014 (1,570), and 8% lower than a year earlier (1 April 2014, 1,681) which continues the falls seen since the published series began in October 2011 (2,370).

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

The number of study-related sponsored visa applications (main applicants) fell 2% in the year ending March 2015 (205,129) compared to the previous 12 months (209,003). This included different trends for different sectors. There was a slight fall in sponsored visa applications for the university sector (to 166,481, -1%) and falls in the further education sector (to 18,297, -11%) and English Language schools (to 3,335, -2%) along with a rise in the independent schools sector (to 13,985, 4%).

There were 67,354 sponsored applications for extensions (main applicants) in the year ending March 2015, 27% fewer than in the previous 12 months. There were falls in sponsored applications for extensions in the university sector (to 53,788, -8%), the further education sector (to 10,956, -62%), English Language schools (to 632, - 32%) and independent schools (to 1,456, -28%).

The chart shows the trends in confirmations of acceptance of studies used in applications for extensions of stay by education sector since 2010 to the latest data available. The chart is based on data in Table cs 19 q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Sponsorship table cs 09 q.
“Universities” relate to UK-based Higher Education Institutions.
“Further education” relates to tertiary, further education or other colleges.

4.5 New entrants to UK Higher Education

Between the 2012 to 2013 and 2013 to 2014 academic years non-EU new entrants to universities increased by 4% (to 179,390 students) compared with increases of 2% for UK (to 759,160) and for other EU students (to 57,190). Comparing 2013 to 2014 with 2008 to 2009 the corresponding changes were an increase of 24% for non-EU students and falls of 19% and 5% for UK and other EU students (Source: HESA).

4.6 Top 5 nationalities granted study visas

The number of study-related visas granted (excluding student visitors) fell 1% to 216,466 in 2014 (-2,442). The top 5 nationalities accounted for over half (52%) of all study visas granted in the year ending March 2015.

The number of study-related visas granted to Chinese nationals has increased steadily since the calendar year 2005 (18,977) to 64,480 for the year ending March 2015, slightly less than the highest level recorded in the calendar year 2014 (64,602) using comparable data.

By contrast, the numbers of study-related visas (excluding student visitors) granted to Indian and Pakistani nationals have fallen since their peaks in the years ending June 2010 (68,238) and June 2011 (42,710) respectively.

4.7 Immigration for study, and emigration of former students

In the calendar year 2014, the ONS estimates that there were 135,000 non-EU long-term study immigrants, an 11% (+13,000) increase (though not statistically significant) compared with 2013.

By contrast, in the calendar year 2014 there were an estimated 44,000 former students who emigrated long term from the UK, similar to the previous 12 months (50,000).

Source: ONS, Long-Term International Migration, Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.

4.8 Extensions of stay

Study-related grants of extensions fell by over a quarter (-28% or -28,645) to 73,465 in the year ending March 2015, compared with the previous 12 months (102,110). This followed a fall from 140,342 in the year ending March 2011 to 98,968 in the year ending March 2013. The 73,465 extensions included 327 grants under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme introduced on 6 April 2013.

The number of sponsored applications for study-related extensions (main applicants) fell 27% from 92,295 to 67,354 (largely due to fewer applications for universities and for the further education sector): further details are provided below.

The fall in grants of extensions of stay is likely to reflect previous falls in the numbers granted visas, together with tightening of the rules such as the new use of the “genuineness” test for study (Tier 4) extensions of stay, announced on 6 September 2013, Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules.

Refusals of study-related extensions increased by 39% (+4,370 to 15,554), in the year ending March 2015. Together with the fall in grants, this meant that the refusal rate was higher in the year ending March 2015 at 17%, compared with 10% in the year ending March 2014.

Looking at individuals’ previous category, an estimated 74,761 former students (main applicants) were granted extensions in 2014, compared with 112,432 for 2013. Of the extensions granted, the majority (84%) allowed individuals to continue to study, 9% allowed individuals to work (7,043 extensions, of which 5,639 were for Tier 2 skilled work) and 5% were family related. The corresponding proportions in 2013 were 89%, 6% (6,238, of which 4,176 for skilled work) and 5% and in 2012 were 62%, 33% and 4% respectively.

Note that student visitors are normally only allowed to stay for up to 6 months (11 months for English Language schools) and cannot extend their stay.

The number of study-related sponsored applications (main applicants) for extensions (main applicants) fell by 27% (-24,941) from 92,295 to 67,354. The 24,941 drop was largely accounted for by a fall of almost two-thirds for the further education sector (-18,047 or -62%). There were also falls for universities (-4,671 or -8%), Independent schools (-575 or -28%) and for English language schools (-301 or -32%).

As the chart below shows, over a longer period the level of university-sponsored applications for extensions has mainly remained at between 50,000 and 60,000 per annum. By contrast the figures for the further education sector and for English language schools have fallen noticeably. The total number of sponsored applications for extensions has fallen by 52,011 (-44%) from a peak of 119,365 in the year ending June 2011 to 67,354 in the year ending March 2015. The figures for further education fell by 38,599 (-78%) and for English language schools by 6,910 (-92%).

The chart shows the trends in confirmations of acceptance of studies used in applications for extensions of stay by education sector since 2010 to the latest data available. The chart is based on data in Table cs 19 q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Sponsorship table cs 10 q.
“Universities” relate to UK-based Higher Education Institutions.
“Further education” relates to tertiary, further education or other colleges.

4.10 Student visitors

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

4.11 Student visitor admissions and visas

There were 263,000 student visitor admissions in the calendar year 2013, much higher than student visitor visas granted (77,601 over the same period). This is largely due to many of the top 10 nationalities for student visitor admissions being non-visa nationalities (including the United States and Brazil). Such 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.

The number of student visitor visas granted fell by 13% (-10,592) to 68,794 in the year ending March 2015, after previously doubling from 37,703 in 2009 to 77,601 in 2013.

4.12 Staying in the UK

The Migrant Journey Fifth Report reported that 16% of those granted student visas in 2008 appear to have legally remained in the immigration system or settled in the UK after 5 years (a fall from 24% for the corresponding 2004 cohort, likely reflecting tightening of the Immigration Rules for students since September 2007).

After 5 years only 1% had been granted permission to stay permanently (settlement). This small proportion is likely to reflect the rules for the student category (which does not lead to settlement) as individuals would have needed to switch into other immigration categories that lead to settlement, and the time that would then need to elapse before a settlement application can be made.

Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey: Fifth Report.

4.13 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, Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency publishes data on new entrants to UK Higher Education providers.

5. Family

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

5.1 Introduction

This section includes figures on family-related visas granted, passenger arrivals, extensions granted and permissions to stay permanently (settlement) for non-EEA nationals. It also includes estimates of long-term immigration (i.e. those intending to stay for at least 12 months) from the ONS International Passenger Survey (IPS) and on residence document decisions covering EEA nationals and their family members.

People can come to the UK for a range of family reasons, such as to join or accompany family members who are either British citizens or settled in the UK, mainly partners, as ‘other dependants joining or accompanying’ those working or studying in the UK, or as visitors. All comparisons are with the previous 12 months unless indicated.

5.2 Key facts

In the year ending March 2015, 34,713 family-related visas were granted. This is a slight decrease of 1% compared with the year ending March 2014 (35,214). There was a 1% increase in the number of visas granted to all other dependants (excluding visitor visas) joining or accompanying migrants in the UK (77,658) compared with the previous 12 months (77,265).

The proportion of resolved family-related visa applications that were refused was 36%. This compares with 26% in the previous 12 months.

There were 38,697 extensions of stay for family reasons in the year ending March 2015. Of this total, 18,108 (47%) were granted under the new Family Life (10-year) category and 20,502 (53%) were granted under the partner category.

Family-related grants to stay permanently fell by a third (-33%) to 31,928 from the previous 12 months, continuing the overall downward trend since the year ending March 2011 (60,570). There were notable decreases in grants to partners (-29% to 28,014) in the last year.

In 2014 (the latest provisional data available), the International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimated that 52,000 non-EU nationals immigrated to the UK to accompany or join others, with the intention of staying for a year or more. This is an increase in comparison to 45,000 in 2013. However, those arriving to accompany or join are not directly comparable with visa categories as explained below.

Analysis undertaken for the Migrant Journey: Fifth Report showed that 81% of migrants granted family visas in 2008 appear to have legally remained in the immigration system after 5 years. Over three-quarters (77%) of those granted a family visa in 2008 had achieved settlement and 4% had some form of valid leave to remain.

  Year ending March 2014 Year ending March 2015 Change Percentage change
Family-related visas granted 35,214 34,713 -501 -1%
of which:        
Partners 26,332 27,290 +958 +4%
Children (1) 3,610 3,051 -559 -15%
Other dependants 5,272 4,372 -900 -17%
         
All other dependants (excl. visitor visas) 77,265 77,658 +393 +1%
         
EEA family permits granted 23,331 26,415 +3,084 +13%
         
  Year ending December 2013 Year ending December 2014 Change Percentage change
Long-term immigration to accompany or join others (2) 45,000 52,000 +7,000 +16%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Visas table vi 01 q, Office for National Statistics, Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.
(1) This category does not include children of a parent given limited leave to enter or remain in the UK for a probationary period. They are included in ‘All other dependants (excl. visitor visas)’.
(2) Immigration to accompany/join others data are estimates of the number of non-EU nationals intending to change their residence to the UK for at least 12 months based on the International Passenger Survey. Latest 12 months for long-term immigration to accompany or join others data are to the year ending December 2014 and are provisional.

IPS estimates of non-EU immigration of those accompanying or joining others in the UK include those arriving on family visas, as well as persons accompanying those who are arriving for other reasons, such as for work or study. In 2014, IPS estimates show that 52,000 non-EU nationals immigrated to the UK to accompany or join others.

The chart below shows that IPS estimates of immigration to accompany or join others have over the long term followed a broadly similar trend to the total visas granted through the family route and to other dependants, although IPS estimates are substantially lower. A reason for the IPS estimates being substantially lower is that the IPS figures exclude the many people who come to the UK but intend to stay for less than a year; visa figures would include these people. There has been analysis showing that in recent years the number of visas under one year duration has increased, whilst longer-term visas have fallen; see short article ‘Entry clearance visas by length’. Visa length is not the same as the IPS intended length of stay and may be driven by different factors which may account in part for different trends.

These measures of immigration for family reasons/to accompany or join others have fallen overall since March 2007, albeit with a period of increases around 2010. However, the figure rose steadily from 35,000 in the year ending June 2013 to 55,000 in the year ending September 2014. Visas granted to other dependants have shown a small increase since 2013, though not as pronounced as that for the IPS estimates and visas issued for family reasons have remained relatively stable over the same period.

The trend for IPS estimates has previously appeared to be broadly similar to figures for family visas alone; however, this is coincidental given that 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 (so this would tend to include dependants of those arriving as well as dependants who travel subsequent to the main applicant).

.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Visas table vi 04 q; Office for National Statistics (provisional estimates for YE March 2014, YE June 2014 and YE September 2014), Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.
(1) Includes all dependants (e.g. dependants for work and study), but excludes visitors.

Despite the general trends having been similar, there are instances, visible from the chart above, where the trend in family visas granted and IPS estimates of non-EU immigration to accompany or join others appear to be different (as for the trend since the year ending June 2013). It is possible that such differences can be accounted for by the inherent variability associated with sample surveys. There is also the possibility that people intending to stay in the UK for a year or more, or who are arriving to accompany or join others, do not state this when interviewed for the IPS. Some of those stating a main reason for migration as to ‘accompany or join’ may have neither arrived on a family visa or as a dependant of a main applicant. It is also expected that there will be some time lag between an application for a visa and the person arriving in the UK.

5.4 Visas

In the year ending March 2015, 34,713 family-related visas were granted. This is a 1% decrease compared with the previous year (35,214).

Nationalities with the highest number of visas granted for family reasons in the year ending March 2015

  Total Partners Children (1) Other dependants
Family-related visas granted 34,713 27,290 3,051 4,372
of which:        
Pakistan 5,127 4,685 61 381
India 3,310 2,906 356 48
United States 2,228 2,197 15 16
Bangladesh 1,417 1,349 46 22
Philippines 1,385 960 422 3

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015 Visas Table vi 06 q f.
(1) This category does not include children of a parent given limited leave to enter or remain in the UK for a probationary period.

Of the total visas granted for family reasons in the year ending March 2015, 27,290 (79%) were granted to partners, 3,051 (9%) were granted to children and 4,372 (13%) were granted to other dependants. Compared with the year ending March 2014, the number of family visas granted to partners increased by 4%, visas granted to children fell by 15% and visas granted to other dependants fell by 17%.

Other dependants can be granted a visa to join or accompany migrants who have not been granted the right to stay permanently in the UK. In the year ending March 2015, 77,658 of these visas (excluding visitors) were granted, an increase of 1% compared with the previous 12 months (77,265). Of the 77,658 visas granted, 62% (47,810) were granted to other dependants of workers, 24% (18,922) to other dependants of students and 14% (10,926) to other dependants accompanying or joining a migrant in the UK.

Despite the increase in visas granted to other dependants joining or accompanying migrants (+1%), the level is much lower than the peak of 106,723 in the year ending March 2007.

5.5 Admissions

Admissions for family reasons fell to 22,600 in the year ending June 2014 (compared with 23,100 in the previous 12 months), continuing the overall trend since 2006.

5.6 Immigration to accompany or join others

The IPS estimate for non-EU nationals accompanying or coming to join family or friends for a year or more was 52,000 in 2014. This is higher than 45,000 in the previous 12 months (+16%).
Source: ONS, International Passenger Survey (IPS), Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.

5.7 Extensions of stay

Statistics on extensions of stay relate to people wishing to extend or change the status of their stay in the UK. One of the ways that people can do this is for family reasons, which includes the new Family Life (10-year) route – further information is given in the Extensions topic.

In the year ending March 2015, there were 38,697 grants of extension for family-related reasons, an increase from 37,155 in the previous 12 months.

Of the 38,697 extensions for family reasons, 18,108 (47%) were granted under the new Family Life (10-year) category and 20,502 (53%) were granted under the partner category.

The increase in the number of grants was accounted for by a rise in grants to partners, from 17,642 to 20,502.

There was a decrease in the number of refusals of family-related extensions of stay to 16,717 in the year ending March 2015, of which 13,381 were under the new Family Life (10-year) route.

Dependants of migrants in other routes, for example workers and students, excluding visitors, can also apply to extend their stay in the UK. In the year ending March 2015, 53,242 extensions were granted to dependants (excluding visitors), an increase of 9,924 (+16%) from the previous 12 months.

Analysis of extensions of stay by previous category shows that the 32,715 extensions granted to main applicants in 2014 for family reasons included 10,639 people previously in the family route (33%), 3,957 former students (12%), and 3,195 previously in the work category (10%).

5.8 Settlement

Family-related grants to stay permanently fell by a third (-33%), to 31,928 in the year ending March 2015. This continues the overall downward trend since the year ending March 2011 (60,570).

The majority of settlement grants were for partners (28,014; 88%), with the remainder for children (3,559; 11%), parents and grandparents (132; 0%) and other or unspecified dependants (223; 1%).

There were decreases in all the family categories: a 29% fall (-11,651) in grants to partners, a 46% fall (-3,082) in grants to children, a 77% fall (-441) in grants to parents and grandparents and a 71% fall (-553) in grants to other or unspecified dependants.

5.9 Staying in the UK

Analysis of administrative records for migrants granted visas in 2008 is presented in the Migrant Journey Fifth Report and shows that 81% of migrants granted family visas in 2008 appear to have legally remained in the immigration system after 5 years. Over three-quarters (77%) of those granted a family visa in 2008 had achieved settlement and 4% had some form of valid leave to remain. This is an increase from 2004 when 68% of migrants granted family visas appeared to have legally remained in the UK.

The proportion who had settled within 5 years also differs by nationality. For example, a lower proportion of Somali nationals were settled after 5 years (43%) compared with nationals from Bangladesh (93%), Pakistan (88%) and India (87%).

Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey: Fifth Report.

5.10 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 for any non-EEA family members, they must provide evidence to demonstrate they are residing in the UK in accordance with the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006.

In 2014 there were 100,667 decisions on applications for EEA residence documents, a similar level to 2013 (102,088) and the second highest total since records began in 2004.

Grants of documents certifying permanent residence and permanent residence cards have risen in recent years to 19,749 in 2014. This may reflect the numbers living in the UK under the EEA Regulations for 5 years or more who have obtained a right of permanent residence and become eligible to apply for permanent residence documentation. Since 2010 Poland has been the top nationality granted documents certifying permanent residence (3,066 in 2014). Before 2010 Portugal was the top nationality.

Grants of registration certificates and registration cards rose by 10% to 42,638 in 2014, but had shown a generally falling trend between 2007 and 2012. Nationals of Portugal were granted the most registration certificates in 2012, 2013 and 2014 with nationals of Poland granted the most in 2006 to 2011.

5.11 Data tables

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

More detailed analysis on family visas and extensions and additional tables for years ending June were included in the Immigration Statistics July to September 2014 release to assist users in understanding the trends in family data before and after the changes to the Immigration Rules in July 2012.

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

6. Visas

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

6.1 Introduction

This section relates to grants of entry clearance visas to individuals outside the UK. Data include dependants and exclude visitor and transit visas unless stated otherwise. All data below relate to the year ending March 2015 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2014, unless indicated otherwise.

6.2 Key facts

There were 543,647 visas granted in the year ending March 2015, (+5,950 or +1%). There were increases for Tier 2 skilled work (+10,648), Tier 5 Youth mobility (+5,268), and EEA family permits (+3,084, part of ‘Other’). By contrast there were falls for student visitors (-10,592 or -13%) and study visas (-2,442 or -1%).The top 5 nationalities granted visas were India (85,965), China (85,356), USA (36,427), Australia (21,905) and Saudi Arabia (19,034).

There were 2% fewer visitor visas granted at around 1.85 million, after excluding Omani, Qatari and United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals (who were able to visit the UK without a visa from 1 January 2014, following the introduction of the Electronic Visa Waiver scheme). Including these nationals, the number of visitor visas granted fell by 4%.

There were notable increases in visitor visa grants for Chinese (+31,080 to 334,089, excluding Hong Kong), and Indian (+12,869 to 329,854) nationals. By contrast there were large falls in visitor visa grants for Russian (-57,340 to 153,392) and Ukrainian (-6,724 to 30,321) nationals.

Visas granted by reason (excluding visitor and transit visas)

  Total granted Work Study Student visitors (1) Family Dependant joining or accompanying Other
Year ending March 2011 609,337 161,809 295,086 51,137 51,759 15,690 33,856
Year ending March 2012 529,901 148,589 226,556 65,361 43,732 13,072 32,591
Year ending March 2013 499,552 141,752 206,736 69,516 36,858 11,685 33,005
Year ending March 2014 537,697 156,323 218,908 79,386 35,214 11,651 36,215
Year ending March 2015 543,647 171,043 216,466 68,794 34,713 10,926 41,705
Change: latest year +5,950 +14,720 -2,442 -10,592 -501 -725 +5,490
Percentage change +1% +9% -1% -13% -1% -6% +15%

Table notes

(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. For consistency and comparability over time student visitor visas have been excluded from study-related totals. For further discussion see the Study section.

6.3 Visas granted by nationality

The map below illustrates the top 10 nationalities granted visas in the year ending March 2015, which account for 60% of the total. The highest numbers were for Indian (85,965, 16% of the total), Chinese (85,356, 16%) and United States (36,427, 7%) nationals. Figures for China exclude Hong Kong. More detailed commentary on visa statistics by reason and nationality is included in the Work topic, Study topic, and Family topic.

Top 10 nationalities granted visas

(Total 543,647, excluding visitor and transit visas)

The image shows the number of entry clearance visas granted, excluding visitor and transit visas, for the top 10 nationalities in the year ending March 2015. The data are available in Table vi 06 q, Visas vol. 2.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Visas table vi 06 q, Visas vol. 2.
(1) China excludes Hong Kong.

6.4 Visitor visas grants

There were 2% fewer visitor visas granted at around 1.85 million, after excluding Omani, Qatari and United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals (1). The table below shows the largest increases and falls for individual nationalities.

Nationality Change % Change   Nationality Change % Change
China 31,080 10%   Russia -57,340 -27%
India 12,869 4%   Ukraine -6,724 -18%
Venezuela 8,417 2,158%   Kuwait -6,523 -7%
Philippines 6,299 23%   Pakistan -6,278 -10%
Colombia 3,147 16%   Libya -5,392 -59%

Table notes

(1) Omani, Qatari and UAE nationals were able to visit the UK without a visa from 1 January 2014 (the Electronic Visa Waiver scheme was introduced on 1 January 2014 resulting in significant falls for these nationalities). The large percentage increase for Venezuelan nationals was related to a recent change in the Immigration Rules. From 5 May 2014, all Venezuelan nationals travelling to the UK needed to apply for a visa. Previously, Venezuelan nationals did not need a visa to visit the UK for 6 months or less if they held a biometric-chipped passport.

6.5 Data tables

Further data on entry clearance visas and sponsored visa applications for the work and study routes (described further in the Work topic and Study topic) can be found in the following tables:

7. Admissions

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

7.1 Introduction

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

Total passenger admissions data are available up to the year ending March 2015; data on the purpose of journey (e.g. visit, work, study) to the year ending June 2014; and data for individual nationalities are available up to the end of 2013.

7.2 Key facts

The total number of journeys increased by 6% to a record 118.4 million in the year ending March 2015 (+6.2 million).

The 6.2 million increase in the number of journeys in the year ending March 2015 was accounted for by 5.5 million more journeys by British, other EEA and Swiss nationals (up 6%) and 0.7 million more journeys by non-EEA nationals (up 5%).

For non-EEA nationals more detailed data by category are less up to date than the totals. There were 14.3 million journeys in the year ending June 2014, 9% more than in the previous 12 months, and the highest number since the data series began. There were increases in the work (+8% or +11,400) and student visitor (+9% or +24,500) categories along with falls for the study (-3% or -6,240), and family (-2% or -535) categories. The number of visitors increased by 9% (+0.7 million).

The number of passengers refused entry at port rose by 11% to 18,373 in the year ending March 2015 (+1,803).

Admissions by purpose of journey: non-EEA nationals

Year Total admissions (Millions) Work Study Student visitors (1) Family Visitors (Millions) Other (Millions)
Year ending June 2010 12.4 159,000 318,000 227,000 35,400 6.9 4.8
Year ending June 2011 13.1 161,000 303,000 246,000 36,100 7.6 4.8
Year ending June 2012 13.2 142,000 212,000 295,000 29,500 7.8 4.7
Year ending June 2013 13.1 145,000 202,000 268,000 23,100 8.0 4.4
Year ending June 2014 14.3 157,000 196,000 292,000 22,600 8.8 4.8
Change: latest year +1.2 +11,400 -6,240 +24,500 -535 +0.7 +0.4
Percentage change +9% +8% -3% +9% -2% +9% +10%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Admissions table ad 02 q.
(1) Student visitors are allowed to come to the UK for 6 months (or 11 months if they will be studying an English Language course) and cannot extend their stay. The student visitor category was introduced in 2007 and may include individuals previously recorded as visitors, so for consistency and comparability over time they have been excluded from study-related totals. For further discussion of study and student visitors, see the Study section. For both visitors and student visitors, non-visa nationals do not require a visa for visits of up to 6 months, so total figures for admissions are not directly comparable with total visitor or student visitor visas.

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 to March 2015, Admissions table ad 01.

7.3 Non-EEA nationalities admitted to the UK, 2013

United States nationals accounted for more than a quarter (27%) of the 14.0 million journeys by non-EEA nationalities into the UK. The top 5 nationalities accounted for 54% of all journeys made.

Top 5 non-EEA nationalities admitted, 2013

(Total number of admissions: 14.0 million)

The chart shows admissions by nationality in 2013. The chart is based on data in Table ad 03.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Admisssions table ad 03.

7.4 Data tables

Further data on admissions and passengers refused entry at port are available in Admissions tables ad 01 to ad 04.

8. Asylum

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

8.1 Introduction

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

All data below relate to the year ending March 2015 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2014, unless indicated otherwise.

8.2 Key facts

There were 25,020 asylum applications in the year ending March 2015, an increase of 5% compared with the previous year (23,803). The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132).

In the year ending March 2015, the largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Eritrea (3,552), followed by Pakistan (2,421) and Syria (2,222). Grant rates for asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or other grants of stay vary between nationalities. For example, 85% of the total initial decisions made for nationals of Eritrea and Syria were grants, compared with 22% for Pakistani nationals.

Most applications for asylum are made by those already in the country (89% of applications) rather than by people arriving at port. Applicants tend to be young and male.

In the year ending March 2015, the number of initial decisions on asylum applications increased by 72% to 26,066. Of these decisions, 40% (10,346) were grants either of asylum or an alternative form of protection, compared with 36% (5,435) in the previous year, and the highest number of grants since year ending December 2003 (11,074).

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service received 11,067 asylum appeals from main applicants in the year ending March 2015, a rise of 47% compared with the previous 12 months (7,522).

The UK had the fifth highest number (31,400) of asylum applications within the EU in 2014. In 2014, 4 EU countries received more asylum applicants than the UK – Germany (166,800), Sweden (81,300), France (63,100) and Italy (56,300).

In addition to those asylum seekers who apply in the UK, resettlement schemes are offered. In the year ending March 2015, a total of 934 were resettled in the UK. Of these, 174 (187 since the scheme began) were granted humanitarian protection under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

Asylum applications and initial decisions for main applicants

Year Total applications Total initial decisions Granted some form of protection (1) Granted as a % of initial decisions Refused Refused as a % of initial decisions
Year ending March 2011 18,411 19,818 5,307 27% 14,510 73%
Year ending March 2012 19,826 16,970 5,778 34% 11,192 66%
Year ending March 2013 22,635 17,561 6,592 38% 10,969 62%
Year ending March 2014 23,803 15,151 5,435 36% 9,716 64%
Year ending March 2015 25,020 26,066 10,346 40% 15,720 60%
Change: latest year +1,217 +10,915 +4,911 - +6,004 -
Percentage change +5% +72% +90% - +62% -

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Asylum table as 01 q.
(1) Granted includes grants of asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, leave to remain under family life or private life rules, leave outside the rules and UASC leave.

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

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

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Asylum table as 01.
(1) A process preventing certain nationalities from appealing a decision while in the country (non-suspensive appeals process) was introduced in 2002.
(2) Full overseas immigration controls operated by UK immigration officers (juxtaposed controls) were opened in France and Belgium in 2002 and 2004 respectively.
(3) Fast-track facilities for asylum applications were introduced in 2003.

Falls in asylum applications since 2002 coincide with: the introduction of a process preventing certain nationalities from appealing a decision while in the country in 2002; the opening of UK border controls (often termed ‘juxtaposed’ controls) in France and Belgium in 2002 and 2004 respectively; and the introduction of fast-track facilities for asylum applications in 2003. Asylum applications have, however, been increasing each year since 2010.

8.3 Nationalities applying for asylum

In the year ending March 2015, the largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Eritrea (3,552) followed by Pakistan (2,421). In the same period, the number of asylum applications from Eritrean nationals more than doubled to 3,552 from 1,578 in the year ending March 2014.

Grant rates for asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or other grants of stay vary between nationalities. For example, 85% of the total decisions made for nationals of Eritrea and Syria were grants, compared with 22% for Pakistani nationals.

Top 5 nationalities applying for asylum, year ending March 2015 compared with year ending March 2014

Ranking year ending March 2015 (Year ending March 2014) Nationality Year ending March 2014 Year ending March 2015 Grant rates based on initial decisions
1 (5) Eritrea 1,578 3,552 85%
2 (1) Pakistan 3,294 2,421 22%
3 (4) Syria 1,709 2,222 85%
4 (2) Iran 2,234 2,000 56%
5 (11) Sudan 776 1,603 79%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Asylum table as 01 q.

8.4 Applications pending

At the end of March 2015, 21,651 of the applications received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review), 10% more than at the end of March 2014 (19,685). The increase is largely accounted for by a 5,361 rise in the number of pending further review (to 8,773) but balanced by a 3,395 fall in the number pending an initial decision to 12,878.

The number of decisions outstanding increased during recent periods due to a decrease in staffing levels following a restructure initiated by the UK Border Agency. Since January 2014, the Home Office took steps to reallocate resources to this area. This is reflected in the 72% (10,915) rise in the number of initial decisions on asylum applications for the year ending March 2015.

8.5 Asylum appeals

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service received 11,067 asylum appeals from main applicants in the year ending March 2015, a 47% rise compared with the year ending March 2014 (7,522). Appeal determinations have decreased from 7,915 in the year ending March 2014 to 6,852 in the year ending March 2015. This remains well below the peaks in the number of appeals in 2009 and the number of determinations in 2010. In the year to March 2015, the proportion of appeals dismissed was 66%, while 28% of appeals were allowed and 5% were withdrawn.

8.6 Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC)

There were 1,986 asylum applications from UASC in the year ending March 2015, an increase of 46% from the previous year (1,356). These applications represented 8% of all main applications for asylum in the year ending March 2015, but accounted for half of the increase. Despite the recent increase in UASC applications, they remain below the peak of 3,976 in 2008. There were 1,677 initial decisions for UASC in the year ending March 2015, 78% higher than in the year ending March 2014 (941). Overall, there was a fall in the proportion of decisions that were grants, from 73% of decisions in the year ending March 2014 to 66% in the year ending March 2015.

8.7 Age disputes

Some asylum applicants claim to be children but there can be doubt as to whether this is in fact the case. In the year ending March 2015, 348 asylum applicants had their age disputed and there were 461 recorded as having an age assessment. Of those who completed age assessments in the year ending March 2015, 57% had a date of birth showing that they were over 18 despite claiming to be a child when the age dispute was raised.

8.8 Dependants

Including dependants, the number of asylum applications increased from 30,203 in the year ending March 2014 to 31,407 in the year ending March 2015, an increase of 4% and an average of 1 dependant for every 4 main applicants. In the same period, 8,967 initial decisions were made relating to dependants. Of these 2,334 (26%) were granted asylum, 312 (3%) were granted a form of temporary protection or other type of grant, and 6,321 (70%) were refused.

World events have an effect on which nationals are applying for asylum at any particular time. For example, there have been increases in the number of applicants from Syria since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in early 2011. In the year ending March 2015, including dependants, there were 2,532 asylum applications compared to 158 in the year ending March 2011. In addition, increasing numbers of people have sought asylum from Eritrea in the circumstances of international concern over human rights within the country. In the year ending March 2015, including dependants, there were 3,594 asylum applications from nationals of Eritrea compared to 793 in the year ending March 2011.

8.9 Support

At the end of March 2015, 30,476 asylum seekers and their dependants were being supported under Section 95. This figure has increased each quarter since the end of September 2012, but is still considerably below the figure for the end of 2003 (the start of the published data series), when there were 80,123 asylum seekers in receipt of Section 95.

The number of failed asylum seekers and their dependants receiving support (under Section 4) at the end of March 2015 was 4,941. Failed asylum seekers (main applicants only) receiving support peaked at the end of September 2009 (12,019).

8.10 Resettlement

In addition to those asylum seekers who apply in the UK, resettlement schemes are offered to those who have been referred to the Home Office by UNHCR (the UN agency for refugees). In the year ending March 2015, a total of 934 were resettled in the UK through this process and of these, 174 (187 since the scheme began) were also granted Humanitarian Protection under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

8.11 International comparisons

Including dependants, the estimated total number of asylum applications to the EU28 was 554,600 in 2014, an increase of 35% on 2013 (409,800).

Top 5 EU countries receiving asylum applications, 2014

(Total number of applications 554,600, including dependants)

The chart shows the top 5 EU countries receiving asylum applications in 2014. The data are available in Table as 07.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Asylum table as 07.
Figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and so may not add up to the total.

The UK had the fifth highest number of asylum applications within the EU in 2014 (fourth in 2013). In 2014, Germany, Sweden, France and Italy had more asylum applicants than the UK (Germany having more than 5 times as many applications as the UK).

When the relative size of resident populations of the 28 EU countries is taken into account, the UK ranked 16th in terms of asylum seekers per head of the population in 2014.

Quarterly and annual statistics for asylum applications and first instance decisions for the EU Member States are also published by Eurostat (the European statistical organisation).Eurostat figures for 2014 show that the top 3 nationalities of those seeking asylum in the EU28 as a whole were Syria, Afghanistan and Kosovo, ‘Asylum applicants and first instance decisions on asylum applications: 2014’.

8.12 Data tables

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

9. Extensions of stay

Valid: 21 May to 26 August 2015

9.1 Introduction

The figures in this section relate to individuals inside the UK extending or changing the status of their stay in the UK. An individual may make more than one application in any given year. Data include dependants unless stated otherwise.

The numbers of decisions made are not always fully comparable over time. This is because, as well as reflecting past changes in the levels of those entering the UK, the figures are influenced by policy and legislative changes, for example, when new categories are introduced or when there are changes to the length of leave granted. In addition, the level of decisions made may be affected by the resources available in the Home Office.

All data below relate to the year ending March 2015 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2014, unless indicated otherwise.

9.2 Key facts

There were 290,668 decisions on extensions in the year ending March 2015, down by a fifth (-20% or -73,841). Four-fifths of decisions were grants (233,286) and a fifth (57,382) were refusals.

Grants of extensions fell by 42,758 (-15%), with 28,645 fewer study-related grants and 20,138 fewer work-related grants. There were 14,940 fewer Tier 1 General grants as this category has been closed to new entrants and 4,508 fewer grants for Tier 2 skilled workers. By contrast family-related grants increased by 1,542 with a 2,860 increase in grants for partners and a 1,298 fall for the Family Life (10-year route).

Refusals of extensions fell by 31,083, with 29,292 fewer refusals in the Other category reflecting relatively high levels of decisions in the year ending March 2014. There was a 5,141 fall in work-related refusals, with Tier 1 entrepreneur refusals falling 4,207 reflecting tightening eligibility. Study-related refusals rose 4,370 which may be due to tighter rules.

Of the 179,033 extensions granted in 2014, 140,342 (78%) allowed the individual to stay within their original broad category, with the other 22% having switched categories.

Looking at individuals’ previous category, an estimated 74,761 former students (main applicants) were granted extensions in 2014, compared with 112,432 for 2013. Of the former students, 7,043 were granted extensions for work in 2014, compared with 6,238 in 2013.

Grants of extensions by reason, and refusals

Year Total decisions Total grants Work Study Family (1) Other (1) Refusals
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 315,551 281,476 144,123 98,968 24,811 13,574 34,075
Year ending March 2014 364,509 276,044 106,924 102,110 37,155 29,855 88,465
Year ending March 2015 290,668 233,286 86,786 73,465 38,697 34,338 57,382
Change: latest 12 months -73,841 -42,758 -20,138 -28,645 +1,542 +4,483 -31,083
Percentage change -20% -15% -19% -28% +4% +15% -35%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Extensions table ex 01 q.
(1) The introduction of the new Family Life (10-year) route in July 2012 means that the total number of Family and Other grants are not fully comparable over time.

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

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

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Extensions table ex 01.

9.3 Grants of extensions for work

There were 86,786 work-related grants of extensions in the year ending March 2015, 19% lower than in the previous 12 months (106,924). Grants in Tier 1 High Value and Tier 2 Skilled Work account for a large majority (76,442) of the 86,786 work-related grants.

Grants of extensions to Tier 1 High Value individuals for work fell by 51% to 15,911 in the year ending March 2015. This reflected falls in grants in 2 categories that had been closed to new entrants: Tier 1 General (from 23,677 to 8,737) and Post-Study work (from 712 to 42). There was also a 21% decrease in grants in the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category (from 6,673 to 5,260).

Grants of extensions for Tier 2 Skilled Workers fell by 7% in the year ending March 2015, reflecting falls in Tier 2 General category, from 45,506 to 42,156, and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfers category, from 17,988 to 17,199.

Grants of extensions: Tiers 1 and 2

Category Year ending March 2014 Year ending March 2015 Change Percentage change
Total Tier 1 and pre-PBS equivalent 32,197 15,911 -16,286 -51%
of which:        
Tier 1: Entrepreneurs 6,673 5,260 -1,413 -21%
Tier 1: General 23,677 8,737 -14,940 -63%
Tier 1: Post-Study 712 42 -670 -94%
         
Total Tier 2 and pre-PBS equivalent 65,039 60,531 -4,508 -7%
of which:        
Tier 2: General 45,506 42,156 -3,350 -7%
Tier 2: Intra-Company Transfers 17,988 17,199 -789 -4%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Extensions table ex 01 q.

9.4 Grants of extensions for study

Study-related grants of extensions fell by over a quarter (-28% or -28,645) to 73,465 in the year ending March 2015. This followed a fall from 140,342 in the year ending March 2011 to 98,968 in the year ending March 2013. Similarly, decisions on study-related extensions fell 21% to 89,019.

The number of sponsored applications for study-related extensions (main applicants) fell 27% from 92,295 to 67,354, largely due to fewer applications for universities and for the further education sectors. For further details see the Study topic.

9.5 Grants of extensions for family reasons

Family-related grants of extensions increased by 4% to 38,697 in the year ending March 2015. There was an increase in grants to partners, from 17,642 to 20,502 and a decrease in the Family Life (10-year) category from 19,406 to 18,108.

The introduction of the new Family Life (10-year) route, Statement of intent: family migration means that the total numbers of Family grants are not fully comparable over time and, since 9 July 2012, follows a new approach to people seeking to remain in the UK on the basis of their family and/or private life.

9.6 Grants of extensions for other reasons

Grants of extensions in other categories increased by 15% (+4,483) to 34,338 in the year ending March 2015. Further analysis shows a significant part of the increase was accounted for by grants of discretionary leave outside the rules on compassionate grounds, which increased by 3,540 to 12,454.

9.7 Refusals of extensions by category

There were 57,382 refusals of applications for extensions in the year ending March 2015, a decrease compared with 88,465 in the year ending March 2014. The decrease is accounted for by falls in the Other category (-29,292 to 16,047), work-related (-5,141 to 9,064) and family-related (-1,020 to 16,717) refusals. The decrease in the Other category followed an increase from 8,246 in the year ending March 2013 to 45,339 in the year ending March 2014. The level of refusals in the Other category was relatively high in the year ending March 2014. This may partly reflect additional resource deployed to decision making in that year.

Refusals of study-related extensions increased by 39% (+4,370 to 15,554) in the year ending March 2015.

9.8 Grants of extensions by previous category

(excludes dependants)

The text and table below provides an update of the article ‘Extensions of stay by previous category’ published on 29 August 2013. Updates of the more detailed tables provided in the article are included in the Extensions tables.

The previous immigration category of students granted an extension has been estimated for 2013 and 2014. The data are provisional and are subject to revision.

The data presented relate to main applicants only. Since dependants are granted or refused an extension in line with the main applicant, the results for main applicants broadly apply for their dependants also.

There were 179,033 extensions granted in 2014, of which 53,055 (30%) were for work, 68,231 (38%) for study, 32,715 (18%) for family reasons and 25,032 (14%) for other reasons.

Looking at individuals’ previous category, there were 74,761 extensions granted in 2014 to people who were previously students. Of the extensions granted, the majority (84%) allowed individuals to continue to study, 9% were for work and 5% were family related. The corresponding proportions in 2013 were 89%, 6% and 5% and in 2012 were 62%, 33% and 4% respectively.

Of the 53,055 extensions granted in 2014 for work, 43,896 were to people who were previously in the work category (83%), and a further 7,043 were to former students (13%).

The 32,715 extensions granted in 2014 for family reasons included 10,639 people previously in the family route (33%), 3,957 former students (12%), and 3,195 previously in the work category (10%).

Of the 179,033 extensions granted in 2014, 140,342 (78%) allowed the individual to stay within their original broad category, with the other 22% having switched categories. By comparison, in 2011 and 2012 a higher proportion were allowed to switch (29% and 30% respectively). The fall in the proportion allowed to switch largely reflects the closure of the Post-Study route.

9.9 Grants of extension of stay in 2014, current category by previous category

(excludes dependants)

Current category of extension, granted in 2014, totals work 53055, study 68231, family 32715, other 25032.

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Extensions table expc 01.

9.10 Nationalities granted an extension

(excludes dependants)

Of the total 179,033 extensions of stay in 2014, 31% (55,886) were granted to nationals of South Asia and 22% (39,610) were granted to East Asia.

Top 5 nationalities granted an extension to stay, 2014

(Total number of grants 179,033, excludes dependants)

The chart shows grants of extension of stay by nationality in 2014. The chart is based on data in Table ex 02.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Extensions table ex 02.

The top 5 nationalities accounted for over half (55%) of total grants in 2014.

9.11 Data tables

Further data on extensions are available in Extensions tables ex 01 to expc 01 o.

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

More detailed analysis on family extensions and additional tables for years ending June were included in the Immigration Statistics July to September 2014 release to assist users in understanding the trends in family data before and after the changes to the Immigration Rules in July 2012.

10. Settlement

Valid: 21 May to 26 August 2015

10.1 Introduction

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

All data below relate to the year ending March 2015 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2014, unless indicated otherwise.

10.2 Key facts

The number of people granted permission to stay permanently fell by a fifth (-20%; -27,146) to 105,874 in the year ending March 2015. The number of grants is low relative to the peak number of grants in the year ending September 2010 (241,586), and similar to levels seen in 2001 (108,410). The decrease was largely accounted for by falls in family (-15,727), and work-related (-11,737) grants.

There were 40,252 work-related grants to stay permanently in the year ending March 2015, 23% (-11,737) lower than in the year ending March 2014 (51,989). The decrease partly reflects a decrease in work-related admissions 5 years earlier. Settlement granted after 5 years with a work permit decreased from 10,921 to 1,442, reflecting the replacement of the work permit scheme by the Points-Based System. Grants to Tier 1 High Value individuals fell from 24,503 to 21,334 whilst grants in the Tier 2 Skilled Work category rose from 10,055 to 13,347.

Family-related grants to stay permanently fell by 33% to 31,928, continuing the overall downward trend since the year ending March 2011 (60,570). There were notable decreases in grants to wives (from 26,844 to 18,340), husbands (from 12,821 to 9,674) and children (from 6,641 to 3,559).

Asylum-related grants to stay permanently rose 11% to 18,452 in the year ending March 2015 but remain significantly lower than the peak in 2005 (67,810).

Grants to stay permanently for other reasons fell by 9% (-1,523), to 15,242.

Grants to stay permanently by reason, and refusals

Year Total decisions Total grants Work Asylum Family Other (1) Refusals
Year ending March 2011 237,656 227,146 75,138 7,461 60,570 83,977 10,510
Year ending March 2012 158,538 152,108 70,905 13,263 52,125 15,815 6,430
Year ending March 2013 143,963 139,739 61,329 14,965 54,691 8,754 4,224
Year ending March 2014 140,742 133,020 51,989 16,611 47,655 16,765 7,722
Year ending March 2015 110,536 105,874 40,252 18,452 31,928 15,242 4,662
Change: latest 12 months -30,206 -27,146 -11,737 +1,841 -15,727 -1,523 -3,060
Percentage change -21% -20% -23% +11% -33% -9% -40%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Settlement table se 02 q.
(1) The high number of grants in 2011 mainly resulted from a review of the backlog of cases from before March 2007 involving unsuccessful asylum applicants.

The chart below illustrates longer-term trends in grants to stay permanently for the calendar years back to 2004.

The chart shows the number of people granted settlement by calendar year from 2004. The data are available in Table se 02.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Settlement table se 02.

The increase in total numbers of people granted permission to stay permanently from 2001 to 2005 was mainly due to increases in work- and asylum-related grants, which then fell in 2006 and 2007. This reflects changes to rules on how quickly those with refugee status or humanitarian protection were granted settlement and how quickly individuals qualified for work-related settlement. The higher total levels in 2009 and 2010 were due in part 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. More generally, the numbers of applications and decisions reflect changes over time in levels of those entering the UK, as well as policy and legislative changes. Resources available in the Home Office can also affect the numbers.

10.3 Nationalities granted permission to stay permanently

Data for grants by nationality in 2014 are planned to be published in Immigration Statistics April to June 2015, due to be released in August 2015.

Of the total 154,689 grants of permission to stay permanently in 2013, over a third (36% or 56,323) were to nationals of South Asia and around a quarter (24% or 36,525) were to nationals of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Top 5 nationalities granted permission to stay permanently, 2013

(Total 154,689)

The chart shows grants of settlement by nationality in 2013. The chart is based on data in Table se 03.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Settlement table se 03.

Eight of the top 10 nationalities granted settlement in 2013 were also in the top 10 list for 2012. The exceptions were Zimbabwe which ranked 8th, with 4,676 grants and Somalia ranked 9th, with 4,341 grants.

10.4 Data tables

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

11. Citizenship

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

12. Introduction

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

All data below relate to the year ending March 2015 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2014, unless indicated otherwise.

12.1 Key facts

Applications for British citizenship fell in the year ending March 2015 (36% to 134,779).

There were 121,533 decisions about British citizenship, 43% fewer than in the previous year (214,981). Correspondingly, there were 44% fewer people granted British citizenship (down by 91,270 to 115,582). This was the lowest annual figure since 2002 (120,121).

Grant levels reduced in the second and third quarters of 2014 as UKVI resources were used to assist HM Passport Office and increased in the fourth quarter of 2014 and first quarter of 2015 as this work was completed and resources returned to UKVI.

As shown in the table below, the 91,270 fall in grants of British citizenship was reflected in lower numbers of people granted citizenship in all broad categories except grants for other reasons which increased slightly.

Grants and refusals of citizenship

Year Total decisions Total grants On basis of residence On basis of marriage As children Other grounds Refusals and withdrawals
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 202,742 195,642 107,146 39,663 43,586 5,247 7,100
Year ending March 2014 214,981 206,852 112,380 46,893 43,413 4,166 8,129
Year ending March 2015 121,533 115,582 56,654 23,541 31,078 4,309 5,951
Change: latest 12 months -93,448 -91,270 -55,726 -23,352 -12,335 +143 -2,178
Percentage change -43% -44% -50% -50% -28% +3% -27%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Citizenship tables cz 01 q and cz 02 q.
‘Other grounds’ includes Entitlement and Discretionary registration as an adult, Entitlement and Discretionary registration on other grounds and registration under section 5 of the British Nationality Act 1981. See table cz 07 and the user guide for more detail.

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 2004 and the latest calendar year. The data are available in Table cz 03.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Citizenship table cz 03.

Grants of citizenship in 2008 fell when staff resources were temporarily transferred from decision-making to deal with the administration of new applications. Grant levels fell again in 2014 as applications fell and UKVI resources were used to assist HM Passport Office. The number of grants in 2014 (125,653) is the lowest since 2002 (120,121).

Between 2009 and 2013 there was a general increase in grants of citizenship, which is likely in part to reflect increased grants of permission to stay permanently (known as settlement). After a period of residence those granted settlement become eligible to apply for citizenship. There were 207,989 grants in 2013, more than double the level seen in 2001 (90,282) and the highest comparable annual total since records began in 1962.

Applications between 2001 (109,004) and 2014 (127,259) were greater than those received between 1988 (33,147) and 2000 (62,473), but lower than 1987 (the first year for which application data are available) when 295,447 were received due to a surge before the transitional registration provisions in the British Nationality Act 1981 expired at the end of that year.

There were notable increases in 2005 (211,911) and 2013 (232,262). The increase in applications made in 2005 may have reflected people anticipating the introduction of the Knowledge of Life in the UK test on 1 November that year. Similarly, the increase in 2013 may, in part, have been due to people anticipating the rule change to the English language element of the Life in the UK test as of 28 October 2013. See the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline. Applications in 2014 fell to 127,259, a level not seen since 2004 (125,668). This may partly be due to the rule change to the English language element of the Life in the UK test as of 28 October 2013.

12.2 Grants of citizenship by previous nationality

Former Indian and Pakistani nationals have accounted for the largest numbers of grants in almost every year from 1998 to 2014, with the exception of 2007, when former nationals of Pakistan accounted for only the fifth highest number. Together, former Indian and Pakistani nationals accounted for more than a quarter (28%) of grants in 2014.

Top 5 previous nationalities granted citizenship, 2014

(Total number of grants 125,653)

The chart shows grants of citizenship by previous nationality in 2013. The chart is based on data in Table cz 06.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Citizenship table cz 06.

12.3 Location of citizenship 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 was 54% in 2005, but fell to 42% by 2009, with increases over the same period in the proportions for the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and the South East. However, in 2014 London remained the region with the highest proportion of ceremonies (44%).

12.4 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 refusals, citizenship ceremonies attended and renunciations of citizenship.

13. Detention

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

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 (IRCs), short-term holding facilities (STHFs) and pre-departure accommodation (PDA).

All data below relate to the year ending March 2015 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2014, unless indicated otherwise.

13.2 Key facts

The number of people entering detention in the year ending March 2015 increased slightly to 30,902 from 30,109 in the previous year. Over the same period there was a similar increase of 2% in those leaving detention (from 29,786 to 30,313).

There was a continuing decline in the proportion of detainees being removed on leaving detention from the peak in the year ending March 2011 of 64% to 51% in the year ending March 2015. Conversely, there was an increase in the proportion of detainees granted temporary admission or release, from 28% to 39% over the same period.

As at the end of March 2015, 3,483 people were in detention, 16% higher than the number recorded at the end of March 2014 (2,991). An increase was expected due to the opening of The Verne IRC in 2014, which is now fully operational. The increase could possibly have been greater; however, an outbreak of an infectious illness at Morton Hall IRC, meant this facility was not used to its full capacity.

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

Year Entering detention Leaving detention In detention (1)
Year ending March 2011 26,033 26,172 2,654
Year ending March 2012 27,594 27,197 3,034
Year ending March 2013 28,732 28,773 2,853
Year ending March 2014 30,109 29,786 2,991
Year ending March 2015 30,902 30,313 3,483
Change: latest year +793 +527 +492
Percentage change +3% +2% +16%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Detention tables dt 01 q, dt 05 q and dt 11 q.
(1) The “in detention” figures are as at the end of March in each year.

13.3 Length of detention

During the year ending March 2015, 30,313 people left detention. Of these, almost two-thirds (63%) had been in detention for less than 29 days, 18% for between 29 days and two months and 12% for between two and four months. Of the 2,043 (7%) remaining, 152 had been in detention for between one and two years and 26 for two years or longer.

Over a third (37%) of people leaving detention were detained for seven days or less (11,224). Of these, 5,517 (49%) were removed, 5,425 (48%) were granted temporary admission or release, 98 (1%) were granted leave to enter or remain and 81 (1%) were bailed. Of the 178 detained for 12 months or more, 38% were removed, 37% were bailed and 20% were granted temporary admission or release.

13.4 Children in detention

The number of children entering detention in the year ending March 2015 fell to 121 from 203 in the previous year. This was an 89% fall compared with the beginning of the data series in 2009 (1,119).

In the first quarter of 2015, 41 children entered detention, compared with 19 in the first quarter of 2014 and 44 in the first quarter of 2013. Of the 41 children, 23 were initially detained at Tinsley House (Family Unit) IRC, 11 at Cedars PDA and 7 at other IRCs and STHFs.

Of the 43 children leaving detention in the first quarter of 2015, 23 were removed from the UK and 20 were granted temporary admission or release. Of those leaving detention, 29 had been detained for less than four days, 11 for between four and seven days and 3 for between 15 and 28 days. The number of children removed from the UK on leaving detention has ranged from 2 out of 24 (8%) in the first quarter of 2011 to 16 out of 20 (80%) in the second quarter of 2014 and currently in this quarter at 53%.

Children entering detention, solely under Immigration Act powers

The chart shows the number of children entering detention between the first quarter of 2010 and the latest quarter.  The data are available in Table dt 02 q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Detention table dt 02 q.
(1) Oakington Reception Centre closed on 12 November 2010; Yarl’s Wood closed to families with children on 16 December 2010.
(2) Cedars PDA opened on 17 August 2011. From the third quarter of 2011, all child detainees in Tinsley House are shown in Tinsley House IRC. From January 2013 child detainees in Tinsley House IRC, as part of a family, are shown in Tinsley House (Family Unit) IRC; the remainder are shown in Other IRC/STHF.
(3) Tinsley House IRC closed to new entrants from 18 January to 20 March 2013 due to an infectious illness.

13.5 Immigration detainees in prisons

As at 30 March 2015 there were 374 detainees held in prison establishments in England and Wales solely under immigration powers as set out in the Immigration Act 1971 or UK Borders Act 2007.

13.6 Data tables

Further data on detention are available in Detention tables dt 01 to dt 13 q.

14. Removals and voluntary departures

Valid: 21 May 2015 to 26 August 2015

14.1 Introduction

The figures in this section relate to numbers of people, including dependants, leaving the UK either voluntarily when they no longer had a right to stay in the UK or where the Home Office has sought to remove them. While individuals removed at a port of entry have not necessarily entered the country, their removal requires action by the UK Border Force and Home Office, such as being placed on a return flight, and is 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. The figures for the latest period are provisional and rely upon retrospective data-matching exercises that contribute to figures for voluntary departure and result in future upward revisions.

All data below relate to the year ending March 2015 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2014, unless indicated otherwise.

14.2 Key facts

Enforced removals from the UK decreased by 3% to 12,498 in the year ending March 2015 compared with the previous year (12,889).

The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed has increased by 12% in the year ending March 2015, to 16,255 from 14,548 for the previous year. While the figure is lower than that in 2004 (36,167), the number refused entry at port and subsequently departing has been increasing slowly since 2012.

In the year ending March 2015, there were 23,406 voluntary departures. This category has represented the largest proportion of those departing from the UK since the end of 2009. The comparison with the previous 12 months’ figure has not been included due to the retrospective nature of data-matching exercises that are undertaken in counting for some voluntary departures. This means that the figures for the latest periods are particularly subject to upward revision as matching checks are made on travellers after departure (see the section ‘About the figures’).

Removals and voluntary departures by type

Year Total enforced removals Total refused entry at port and subsequently departed Total voluntary departures (1) Assisted Voluntary Returns (2) Notified voluntary departures (3) Other confirmed voluntary departures (1)(4) Other confirmed voluntary departures as a % of voluntary departures
Year ending March 2011 14,967 17,196 26,840 4,009 6,364 16,467 61%
Year ending March 2012 14,855 14,999 27,164 3,219 7,593 16,352 60%
Year ending March 2013 14,345 13,872 30,038 3,757 6,484 19,797 66%
Year ending March 2014 12,889 14,548 32,210 4,260 9,166 18,784 58%
Year ending March 2015 (1) 12,498 16,255 23,406 1,820 11,218 10,368 44%
Change: latest year (5) -391 +1,707          
Percentage change -3% +12%          

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Removals table rv 01 q.
(1) The figures for total voluntary departures and confirmed voluntary departures for the latest periods are particularly subject to upward revision as matching checks are made on travellers after departure (see the section ‘About the figures’), so care should be taken when interpreting these figures.
(2) Assisted Voluntary Return: where financial assistance is provided.
(3) Notified voluntary departures: where a person notifies the Home Office that they have departed. This includes those removed from detention facilities.
(4) Other confirmed voluntary departures: where a person has been identified as leaving when they no longer had the right to remain in the UK, either as a result of embarkation controls or by subsequent data-matching on Home Office systems. Embarkation controls (where Immigration Officers interview departing foreign nationals to establish their immigration status and confirm the person’s embarkation) ceased from June 2014.
(5) Comparisons with the previous 12 months for voluntary departures have not been included here due to the retrospective nature of data-matching exercises. These figures will be subject to upward revision in future releases.

The number of enforced removals has steadily declined over time, although this decline has slowed in the most recent year, with figures for 2014 at their lowest level since the series began in 2004.

The number of people refused entry at port and subsequently departed has decreased since the beginning of the data series in 2004. There was a sharp decrease from 31,859 in the year ending June 2009 to 13,871 in the year ending September 2012. There is no single cause identified for this fall, although a fifth (21%) of the decrease was due to a fall in the number of nationals of Afghanistan being refused entry and subsequently removed (-3,720). The overall falls are likely to be due to a combination of factors, including tighter screening of passengers prior to travel and changes in visa processes and regimes; for example, South African nationals have been required to have a visa for any length or type of visit to the UK since July 2009. In recent years, these figures have shown small increases.

The long-term trend in voluntary departures increased steadily to the year ending September 2010, and showed signs of a more gradual upward trend until the year ending March 2014, despite some fluctuations. The long-term increase over this period coincides with the Home Office improving its contact management with migrants and its ability to track those that are leaving the UK. The figures include individuals who have been identified by administrative exercises as those who have overstayed their leave, and then subsequently left the UK without informing the Home Office. This identification process allows the Home Office to focus its resources on those who remain in the UK. The figures for the last three quarters of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 have shown a steep decline. However, due to the retrospective nature of data-matching exercises, the figures on voluntary departures are usually subject to upward revision as matching checks are made on travellers after departure. In the Immigration Statistics October – December 2014 quarterly release we highlighted that provisional data-matching figures had been revised, following the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s Inspection of Overstayers (see 2014 Inspection Reports). More information is available in the user guide.

.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, Removals table rv 01 q.
(1) Voluntary departure figures for recent quarters should be treated as provisional due to the retrospective nature of data-matching exercises.

Of the 23,406 voluntary departures in the year ending March 2015, 48% of those departing were categorised as notified voluntary departures, closely followed by 44% as other confirmed voluntary departures and 8% as Assisted Voluntary Returns (AVRs). The category “other confirmed voluntary departures” are cases where a person has been identified as leaving when they no longer had the right to remain in the UK, either as a result of embarkation controls or by subsequent data-matching on Home Office systems. This category has been the largest within total voluntary departures since 2007, when it surpassed AVRs, and drives the trend in the total voluntary departures. For the year ending March 2015, the notified voluntary departures figure (11,218) was higher than the confirmed voluntary departures figure (10,368) for the first time. However, the latest confirmed voluntary departures figures are likely to be revised upwards over time.

From 1 April 2014, the AVR programme was no longer available to people held in detention, which averaged over 150 a month in 2013. In addition, embarkation controls ceased from June 2014. Both of these factors potentially affect the number of other confirmed voluntary departures. Results are also influenced by the processes that underpin data-matching and additional work has begun to review these provisional data-matching decisions.

14.3 Asylum and non-asylum enforced removals

In the year ending March 2015, there were 4,214 enforced removals of people who had sought asylum at some stage, down 7% from the previous year (4,512). This figure is 64% lower than the peak in 2004 (11,743) when this data series began. This long-term decrease in the enforced removal of those seeking asylum can be viewed in the context of a generally decreasing trend in asylum applications since 2002; although the asylum applications have increased in recent years, they still remain low compared to the peak in 2002.

In the year ending March 2015, 66% of total enforced removals were non-asylum cases (8,284), down 1% from the previous year (8,377) and down 18% from the peak of 10,070 in 2008.

14.4 Removals and voluntary departures by nationality

The highest number of enforced removals in the year ending March 2015 was for Pakistani nationals (1,777; 14% of the total). The second highest was for Indian nationals (1,172; 9% of the total).

The highest number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently departed was for United States nationals (2,009; 12% of the total). The second and third highest numbers were for Albanian (1,316; 8% of the total) and Brazilian (788; 5% of the total) nationals. United States and Brazilian nationals who are not coming to the UK for work or for 6 months or more do not need to apply for, and be issued with, a visa prior to arrival. The first time that they can be refused entry will therefore be on arrival in the UK.

The highest number of voluntary departures in the year ending March 2015 was for Indian nationals (5,706; 24% of the total), who have also shown the largest decrease compared with the previous year (-1,488 or -21%). The second highest number was for Pakistani nationals (3,291; 14% of the total) voluntary departures.

14.5 Departures by ‘harm’ assessment

The harm matrix was introduced in 2007 for monitoring the Public Service Agreement (PSA) that then was applied to measure performance in removing the most harmful people first. However, interest in this topic remains despite PSAs being abolished; ‘higher harm’ assessments include people who have committed serious criminal and immigration offences.

In the year ending March 2015, 12,498 enforced removals and 23,406 voluntary departures were subject to an assessment for a harm rating, of which 16% and 1% respectively were assessed as ‘highest harm’. This is similar to the previous year, when 17% of enforced removals and 1% of total voluntary departures were assessed as ‘highest harm’.

14.6 Foreign national offenders

The Home Office removes foreign national offenders using enforcement powers or via deportation. In the year ending March 2015, provisional data show that 5,051 foreign national offenders (FNOs) were removed, a similar level as in the previous year (5,080).

14.7 Data tables:

Further data on removals and voluntary departures are available in

15. About this Release

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

The release includes the following section briefings: (cross-cutting) Work, Study, Family, (single section) Visas, Admissions, Extensions, Settlement, Citizenship, Asylum, Removals and Voluntary Departures and Detention. Detailed tables of figures accompany each of the single section briefings, providing data up to the first quarter of 2015 (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 Science 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 Chief Statistician, as Head of Profession, reports to the National Statistician with respect to all professional statistical matters and oversees all Home Office National Statistics products with respect to the Code, being responsible for their timing, content and methodology.

Between 27 February and 14 May 2015, the Home Office sought feedback from the users of the Immigration Statistics, in order to assess how well the publication meets our users’ needs and make improvements where possible. The feedback survey is now closed and we are now in the process of considering responses and after this plan to inform users of the outcome.

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

15.1 National Statistics

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

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

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

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

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

15.2 Changes to section briefings and tables

Revisions to data
Within the Removals and Voluntary Departures section there have been revisions relating to the category ‘other confirmed voluntary departures’. Retrospective checks mean that figures for voluntary departures are subject to upward revision. This is particularly for confirmed voluntary departures that are generated as a result of detailed retrospective data-matching, but some more limited revision is needed for notified voluntary departures to allow time for recording notifications from those who have departed. In light of this, other confirmed voluntary departures for the third and fourth quarter of 2014 combined have been revised upwards from 3,386 to 5,692 (68% increase) in this quarterly release.

Within the Family section, data on grants and refusals of residence documents to EEA nationals and their non-EEA family members from 2006 to 2013 have been revised following work to classify some of the decisions grouped in ‘Other’ in table ee 02. Total decisions are unchanged apart from 2013 which increased by 82 due to the data being drawn from a later extract compared to that published previously. The re-classification of ‘Other’ decisions has led to upward revisions in the numbers granted and refused residence documents in all 8 affected years. The revisions increase the numbers granted and refused by 1% or less of the original sub-totals, with the exception of ‘Documents certifying permanent residence and permanent residence cards – refused’ in 2008 to 2010 and 2012. These are increased by 5% in 2008, 2009 and 2012 (up 57, 83 and 105 respectively) while the figure for 2010 increased by 10% (368).

15.3 Migration Statistics User Forum

The Forum has been established for discussion of migration statistics, allowing 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 Science intends to use this list for communication with users, including data and release developments. The Forum is a user-led group, with close to 200 members, that is now affiliated to the Royal Statistical Society.

The list also provides access to contact details for the Home Office’s Migration Statistics team via downloading from this link, MIGRATION-STATS File Area.

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

Copies of the presentations made at the last annual conference of the Forum, held on 16 September 2014, are available at 2014 Conference of the Migration Statistics User Forum.

The next conference of the Migration Statistics User Forum is currently being planned for September 2015. Details will be made available shortly.

15.4 Home Office statistical work programme

The Home Office has published its Statistical Work Programme 2014 to 2015 which outlines the most significant outputs, highlights some recent developments and outlines future plans. Pages 3 to 4 of the work programme cover our statistics on immigration. Pages 11 to 12 of the work programme provide details of how you can provide feedback on the work programme and outputs.

15.5 Further information and feedback

We welcome feedback on Immigration Statistics. If you have any comments, suggestions, enquiries or need assistance in accessing the data, please email them to:
MigrationStatsEnquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Or write to:

The Editor, Immigration Statistics
Migration 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 Chris Kershaw. The Home Office Migration Statistics mission statement is:

We produce timely, accurate and objective statistics on immigration to support effective delivery of Home Office objectives and to inform government, Parliament and the public.

16. About the figures

This section, ‘About the figures’, provides extra information designed to assist in the interpretation of this release.

The User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics additionally provides more detailed information including definitions used, other sources of information, how figures are compiled, data quality and issues arising from figures based on data sourced from an administrative database. The user guide is structured in the same way as ‘About the figures’.

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

16.1 Work, Study and Family

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

  • grants of visas for entry clearance, 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
  • extensions of stay for work, study or family purposes providing information on case work relating to migrants in-country
  • settlement data, providing information on the number of people who are granted or refused permission to stay permanently (settlement) which is an indicator of longer term migration
  • data from the Migrant Journey Analysis on outcomes (5 years later) of those receiving work, study or family visas

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

ONS figures on long-term immigration relate to non-EU nationals whilst other figures (visas, admissions, extensions, permission to stay permanently) relate to non-EEA nationals.

The various statistics and research presented can appear to give different pictures of immigration for work, study or family. 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 section of the User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics includes a discussion on the differences between the various data sources presented on immigration.

ONS has conducted a review (see Quality of Long-Term International Migration Estimates from 2001 to 2011) of the quality of Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates over the decade from 2001 to 2011 which predominantly are based on the International Passenger Survey (IPS). The review follows research conducted in light of the results of the 2011 Census for England and Wales, which found that the Census-based mid-year population estimate was 464,000 higher than the mid-year population estimates rolled forward from the 2001 Census base. Several possible causes for the difference were cited but it was considered that the ‘largest single cause is most likely to be underestimation of long-term immigration from central and eastern Europe in the middle part of the decade’, ‘Methods used to revise the national population estimates for mid-2002 to mid-2010’. The review extends this work to compare LTIM estimates to further data from the 2011 Census, as well as a range of other data sources across the decade from 2001 to 2011. IPS figures are compared with visa figures in the section briefs for work, study and family. However, the IPS estimates used solely relate to non-EU nationals as visas are not required for EU nationals (or other EEA nationals) visiting the UK.

Data include dependants unless stated otherwise.

IPS and LTIM figures for 2013 are final. All other data for 2013, 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 are provisional.

Figures for admissions and immigration are estimates rounded to the nearest thousand. Figures for immigration in the work, study and family sections relate to non-EU nationals whilst other figures (visas, admissions, extensions) relate to non-EEA nationals.

Work: 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 continued to be processed after this date. From December 2010, Tier 1 General was closed to applicants who are outside the UK and it was closed to migrants who were already in the UK, in most immigration categories, from April 2011. Details of these policy changes, together with information on changes to immigration legislation affecting the statistics, can be found in the Policy and Legislative Changes Timeline published alongside the user guide. Following the accession of Croatia to the EU on 1 July 2013 similar transitional restrictions to those that previously related to Bulgarians and Romanians were placed on Croatians working in the UK. A link to more information on these restrictions can be found in the user guide.

Study: 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.

Family: The numbers of applications and decisions made reflect changes in levels of immigration over time, as well as policy and legislative changes, including changes to immigration legislation. The availability and allocation of resources within UK Visas and Immigration can also affect the number of decisions on applications. In July 2012, changes were made to the family Immigration Rules which apply to applications made on or after 9 July 2012. It is not possible to identify separately applications made under the previous and new rules. Spouse, partner and child applications which fell for refusal solely because they did not meet the new minimum income threshold had been subject to a hold on decision-making following a High Court judgment in July 2013. On 11 July 2014 the Court of Appeal upheld the lawfulness of the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route. From 28 July 2014, the 4,000 individuals whose applications (visa or extension) were then on hold, pending the Court of Appeal judgment, will receive a decision.

More detailed analysis on family visas and extensions and additional tables for years ending June were included in the Immigration Statistics July to September 2014 release to assist users in understanding the trends in family data before and after the changes to the Immigration Rules in July 2012.

16.2 Visas and sponsorship

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

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

Data for visas prior to 2005 are not comparable. All figures for 2013, 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 are provisional.

EEA nationals do not require an entry clearance visa. Four-hundred-and-fourteen visas were recorded as granted to EEA nationals in 2013, with 368 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 ‘Visas’ data tables and section of the User Guide to Home Office Immigration Statistics provide more information.

16.3 Admissions

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 3 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’ within the ‘other’ category. Due to the volume of passengers arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick some data are estimated from monthly samples.

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

Total passenger arrival data are available up to the year ending June 2014 (Table ad 01 q); data on the purpose of journey (e.g. visit, work, study; Table ad 02 q); and data for individual nationalities are available up to the end of 2013 (Tables ad 02 and ad 03).

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

Further information on visitors to the UK is published by the Office for National Statistics in ‘Overseas Travel and Tourism: May 2014’.

The refusal of entry to passengers relates to non-asylum cases dealt with at ports of entry.

16.4 Asylum

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

All data, except data on asylum support, for 2013, 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 are provisional.

The method for processing figures for asylum support changed from the first quarter of 2013. Since 2013, figures have been produced using a new method which facilitates access to the data for data quality purposes and improved reconciliation with administrative records. The data source for both new and previous methods remains the same. Caution should be taken when comparing earlier data with figures from the first quarter of 2013 onwards, as the figures are not directly comparable.

The table for non-suspensive appeals has been redesigned to provide more detailed information and clarity of definitions. ‘Total eligible for the non-suspensive appeals process’ includes main applicants who have been refused asylum, humanitarian protection (HP) or discretionary leave (DL) where the refusal was certified as clearly unfounded. Previously this category included a broader definition; main applicants refused asylum, HP or DL.

16.5 Extensions of stay

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.

The data in this briefing include dependants, except where stated otherwise, and take account of the outcomes of reconsiderations and appeals. All figures for 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 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 and changes to the length of leave granted (either for initial entry clearance or for subsequent extensions). The availability and allocation of resources within the Home Office can also affect the number of decisions.

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 the Home Office as part of their performance data. Details are given on the GOV.UK website, Migration transparency data.

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

16.6 Settlement

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 included in these figures e.g. Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are not included from 2007 onwards.

The numbers of applications and decisions about permission to permanently stay 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 permanently stay. The availability and allocation of resources within the Home Office can also affect the number of decisions.

All the figures include spouses and dependants, unless stated otherwise. All data for 2013, 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 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. Further information can be found in the Family section.

Data on migration applications decided within published standards, the cost per decision for all permanent and temporary migration applications are published as Official Statistics by the Home Office as part of their immigration performance data. Details are given on the Migration transparency data webpage.

Migrant journey analysis is able to look at those who apply for settlement or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and which visas they used to arrive at that point. This analysis shows that the proportion of settlement grants made to people who initially arrived on a temporary visa rose between 2009 and 2013. For example, those originally entering the UK on a student visa comprised 11% of settlement grants in 2009 and 19% in 2013. Source: Home Office, Migrant Journey: Fifth Report.

16.7 Citizenship

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 2014 are provisional.

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

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

16.8 Detention

Children are those recorded as being under 18 years of age. All data for 2013, 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 are provisional.

The information on detainees held in prison establishments in England and Wales solely under Immigration Act Powers has been supplied by the National Offender Management Service (an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Justice). It is based on weekly manual returns from individual prisons, which, as with any large-scale manual recording system, is subject to possible error(s) with individual data entry and processing.

16.9 Removals and voluntary departures

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.

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 the light of the high use of retrospective data-matching to check departures, figures are reviewed each quarter to decide whether they require revision. Figures for notified voluntary departures and other confirmed voluntary departures are revised for two consecutive quarters.

In the Immigration Statistics October to December 2014 quarterly release we highlighted that provisional data-matching figures had been reviewed, following the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s Inspection of Overstayers (see 2014 Inspection Reports). Home Office Science worked closely with the data owners to review and revise data. For example, this work addressed inconsistencies in the interpretation of new guidance on the classification of individuals whose leave to remain had been curtailed, but who departed before the expiry of a grace period. As a result of this, the voluntary departures figures were revised.

All data include dependants, unless otherwise stated, and are provisional for 2013, 2014 and the first quarter of 2015.