National Statistics

Returns

Published 1 December 2016

Valid: 01 December 2016 to 22 February 2017

Data relate to the year ending September 2016 and all comparisons are with the year ending September 2015, unless indicated otherwise.

Back to ‘Immigration statistics July to September 2016’ content page.

1. Key facts

As a result of feedback from users, Home Office statisticians have revised the existing terminology and category groupings and a number of new categories have been devised (see table below). The underlying statistics collected have not been changed as a result of these clarifications.

Enforced returns from the UK decreased by 9% to 12,521 in the year ending September 2016 compared with the previous year (13,799). This includes 11,001 enforced removals and 1,520 other returns from detention. For more information see the user guide.

In the year ending September 2016, there were 25,306 voluntary returns (excluding returns from detention) compared to 27,117 in the previous year.

The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed increased by 7% in year ending September 2016 to 18,065 from 16,887 in year ending September 2015. The number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently departed has been increasing since 2012.

In the year ending September 2016, provisional data show there were 5,825 returns of foreign national offenders (FNOs), using enforcement powers or via deportation. This is the second highest number since the series began in 2009 and reflects increasing use of other forms of FNO returns, including those where an offence was committed outside the UK.

2. Returns by type

  Year ending September 2015 Year ending September 2016 Change Percentage change
Total enforced returns (1) 13,799 12,521 -1,278 -9%
of which:        
Total enforced removals (2) 12,314 11,001 -1,313 -11%
Other returns from detention (3) 1,485 1,520 +35 +2%
Total voluntary returns (excludes returns from detention) (4) 27,117 25,306 - -
Total refused entry at port and subsequently departed 16,887 18,065 +1,178 +7%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics July to September 2016, Returns table rt 01q (Returns volume 1).
(1) Total enforced returns covers enforced removals from detention, non-detained enforced removals and other returns from detention where the Home Office will have been required to facilitate or monitor the return. This new grouping has been created to reflect the likely level of enforcement activity that led to these returns.
(2) Enforced removals include enforced removals from detention and non-detained enforced removals.
(3) Other returns from detention relate to those returns occurring either from detention or up to 2 days after leaving detention AND where it had been established that a person has breached UK immigration laws and/or have no valid leave to remain in the UK.
(4) The figures for total voluntary returns are particularly subject to upward revision as matching checks are made on travellers after departure, so comparisons with the previous 12 months 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 and exclude returns from detention.

Of the 12,521 enforced returns in the year ending September 2016, 80% were non-asylum cases (9,999), up from the previous year (9,852). Of these enforced returns, 11,253 (90%) were returned home, 964 (8%) were returned to a European Union (EU) member state, and 304 (2%) to other and destination unknown. In the same period, there were 2,522 enforced returns of people who had previously sought asylum, down 36% from the previous year (3,947).

In the year ending September 2016, there were 25,306 voluntary returns (excluding returns from detention) of which 1,337 were voluntary returns of people who had previously sought asylum. These figures include individuals who had been identified as having overstayed their leave and subsequently left the UK without informing the Home Office. This identification process enables the Home Office to better focus its resources on those who remain in the UK. Due to the retrospective nature of data-matching exercises, the data on voluntary returns are particularly subject to upward revision as additional checks are made on travellers after departure. Of the 25,306 voluntary returns (excluding returns from detention), 19,658 (78%) were returned home, 1,617 (6%) were returned to another EU member state and 4,031 (16%) were returned to other and unknown destination.

In the year ending September 2016, there were 18,065 people refused entry at port and subsequently departed, of which 5,737 (32%) were returned home, 10,787 (60%) were returned to an EU member state, and 1,541 (9%) to other and destination unknown. The number has been lower in recent years compared to when the current data series began (in 2004). There was a sharp decrease from 31,859 in the year ending June 2009 to 13,789 in the year ending December 2012. There is no single cause identified for this fall, but it will partly reflect the differing mix in arrivals. For example, one-fifth (21%) of the decrease was due to a fall in the number of Afghanistan nationals 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, increased use of voluntary return, 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.

The chart shows the number of enforced removals, voluntary returns (excludes returns from detention) and refused entry at port and subsequently departed between the year ending December 2014 and the latest rolling year. Data are available in Table rv01q.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics July to September 2016, Table rv 01 q Returns table rt 01q (Returns volume 1).
The figures for total voluntary returns (excludes returns from detention) are particularly subject to upward revision as matching checks are made on travellers after departure, so comparisons with the previous 12 months should be treated with caution at this stage.

3. Returns by nationality

The highest number of enforced returns in the year ending September 2016 was for Albanian nationals (1,551; 12% of the total), of which 1,480 (95%) were returned home. The second highest number were Romanian nationals (1,516; 12% of the total), of which 1,428 (94%) were also returned home; Romanian nationals have also shown the largest increase (+538; +55%) compared to the previous 12 months. Some of these returns may relate to specific enforcement activity related to specific groups of individuals from these countries.

The largest number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently departed were United States (US) nationals (1,671; 9% of the total), of which 1,036 (62%) were returned home. US citizens (and Brazilian nationals, the third largest number) 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; therefore, the first time that they can be refused entry will be on arrival in the UK. The second largest number was Iraqi nationals (1,519; 8% of the total) who were also the nationality recording the largest increase compared with the previous year (+1,341; +753%). Of the 1,519 Iraqi nationals, 1,490 (98%) were returned to an EU member state.

There were 25% more enforced returns (4,539) of EU nationals in the year ending September 2016 compared with the previous 12 months (3,619), and 20% more EU nationals refused entry at port and who subsequently departed (2,195 compared to 1,830).

4. Returns by type, nationals of EU

  Year ending September 2015 Year ending September 2016 Change Percentage change
Total enforced returns (1) 3,619 4,539 +920 +25%
of which:        
Total enforced removals (2) 3,570 4,422 +852 +24%
Other returns from detention (3) 49 117 +68 +139%
Total voluntary returns (excludes returns from detention) (4) 570 640 - -
Total refused entry at port and subsequently departed 1,830 2,195 +365 +20%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics July to September 2016, Returns table rt 02 q (Returns volume 1).
(1) Total enforced returns covers enforced removals from detention, non-detained enforced removals and other returns from detention where the Home Office will have been required to facilitate or monitor the return. This new grouping has been created to reflect the likely level of enforcement activity that led to these returns.
(2) Enforced removals include enforced removals from detention and non-detained enforced removals.
(3) Other returns from detention relate to those returns occurring either from detention or up to two days after leaving detention AND where it had been established that a person has breached UK immigration laws and/or have no valid leave to remain in the UK.
(4) The figures for total voluntary returns (excludes returns from detention) are particularly subject to upward revision as matching checks are made on travellers after departure, so comparisons with the previous 12 months 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.

5. Returns by ‘harm’ assessment

A harm matrix was introduced in 2007 to assess whether the Home Office was removing the most harmful people; ‘higher harm’ assessments include people who have committed serious criminal and immigration offences. More information on the harm matrix is available in the user guide.

In the year ending September 2016, 22% (2,453) of the 11,001 enforced removals were assessed as ‘highest harm’, compared with 18% (2,228) in the preceding year. In the same period, only 1% (175) out of the 26,826 voluntary returns (including returns from detention) were assessed as ‘highest harm’.

6. Foreign national offenders

The Home Office also removes FNOs using enforcement powers or via deportation. In the year ending September 2016, provisional data show that 5,825 FNOs were returned compared to 5,729 in the previous year (up 2%). This is the second highest number since the series began in 2009 and reflects increasing use of other forms of FNO returns, including those where an offence was committed outside the UK.

7. Data tables:

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

Returns vol. 1: tables rt 01 to rt 02 q
The following tables are included in this volume:
rv 01 Returns by type and asylum/non-asylum
rv 01 q Returns by type and asylum/non-asylum
rv 02 Returns by country of nationality and type
rv 02 q Returns by country of nationality and type

Returns vol. 2: table rt 03
The following table is included in this volume:
rv 03 Returns by country of nationality, age and sex

Returns vol. 3: table rt 04
The following table is included in this volume:
rv 04 Returns by country of nationality and destination

Returns vol. 4: table rt 04_q
The following table is included in this volume:
rv 04 q Returns by country of nationality and destination

Returns vol. 5: tables rt 05 to rt 07_q
The following tables are included in this volume:
rv 05 Returns by country of destination and type
rv 05 q Returns by country of destination and type
rv 06 q Returns of foreign national offenders
rv 07 Returns by harm assessment category
rv 07 q Returns by harm assessment category

8. Background information

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 return them to their own country, an EU Member State, or a third country where they are permanently admissible. While individuals refused entry at port and who subsequently departed have not necessarily entered the country, their return requires action by the UK Border Force and Home Office, such as being placed on a flight, and is therefore included above.

8.1 Migration transparency data webpage

A range of key input and impact indicators are currently published by the Home Office on the Migration transparency data webpage.