National Statistics

Immigration statistics, October to December 2014

Updated 26 February 2015

This release presents the latest immigration statistics from Home Office administrative sources, covering the period up to calendar year 2014.

Valid: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 2015

1. Summary Points: October to December 2014

All data below relate to the calendar year 2014 and all comparisons are with the calendar year 2013, unless indicated otherwise.

1.1 Key points from the latest release

Work

In 2014, there were 8% more work-related visas granted (up 12,442 to 167,202), largely accounted for by 13% higher skilled work grants (+10,743) and 87% higher grants of investor visas (+1,397). There was a 14% increase in skilled work visa applications (to 54,571 in 2014, main applicants), with most of the applications sponsored by the Information and Communication (23,151), Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (10,439), and Financial and Insurance Activities (6,529) sectors.

Study

Study-related visas (excluding student visitors) granted rose slightly to 220,116 in 2014 (+0.7%, +1,491), with university sponsored applications stable (+0.3%) and 10% fewer applications from the further education sector. There were higher numbers of study visas granted (excluding student visitors) for Chinese (+2,070 or +3%) and Saudi Arabian (+1,084; +12%) nationals, and falls for Indian (-999; -7%) and Nigerian (-1,521; -13%) nationals.

Study-related grants of extensions fell by over a third (-35%; -40,641) to 76,439 in 2014 which may reflect the introduction of the ‘genuineness’ test, announced on 6 September 2013. Sponsored applications for extensions (main applicants) fell 32% (-34,992) to 73,037, largely accounted for falls in the further education (-18,520 or -56%) and university (-13,430 or -19%) sectors.

Family

There were 5% more family visas granted in 2014 (+1,805 to 34,967), accounted for by an increase in partner visas (+10%; +2,444) and 24% fewer children (-931). 32% of family visas decisions in 2014 were refusals, up from 2013 (29%).

There was also a 2% increase in the number of visas granted to all other dependants (excluding visitor visas) joining or accompanying migrants in the UK (+1,538 to 78,159) and 9% increase in EEA family permits granted to non-EU nationals (+2,109 to 25,002).

Family-related grants to stay permanently fell by nearly half (-45%) to 32,604, continuing the overall downward trend since 2010 (69,228). There were notable decreases in grants to wives (from 33,844 to 18,690) and to husbands (from 16,652 to 9,539).

Asylum

There were 24,914 asylum applications in 2014, an increase of 6% compared with 2013 (23,584) but still much lower than the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132).

In 2014, the largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Eritrea (3,239), followed by Pakistan (2,711). Grants rates for asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or other grants of stay vary between nationalities. For example, 87% of the total decisions made for nationals of Eritrea were grants, compared with 20% for Pakistani nationals.

At the end of 2014, 22,974 of the applications for asylum received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review). This was 34% more than at the end of 2013 (17,180), reflecting a decrease in staffing levels following a restructure initiated by the UK Border Agency. Since January 2014, the Home Office has taken steps to reallocate resources to this area.

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.

Visitors

The number of visitor visas granted remained broadly flat (-0.3%) for 2014 at around 1.9 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 3%.

The largest increases in visitor visa grants were for Chinese (+12%; +35,537, excluding Hong Kong), Philippine (+37%; +8,991) and Venezuelan (+1,757%; +6,942) nationals. The large percentage increase for Venezuelan nationals reflects changes from 5 May 2014, requiring all Venezuelan nationals to apply for a visa. Excluding Omani, Qatari and UAE nationals, the largest decreases were for Russian (-14%; -28,421) and South African (-9% or -7,933) 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

Admissions and refusals at port

The total number of journeys increased by 5.7 million (+5%) to 117.0 million in 2014. The increase was accounted for by 5.2 million more journeys by British, other EEA and Swiss nationals (totalling 102.5 million) and 0.5 million more journeys by non-EEA nationals (14.5 million).

The number of passengers refused entry at port rose by 11% to 18,038 in 2014 compared with 2013 (16,292).

Student visitors

The number of student visitor visas granted fell by 5% (-3,976) to 73,625, after previously doubling from 37,703 in 2009 to 77,601 in 2013. Student visitor visas are granted for short-term study (up to 6 months or 11 months for English Language courses) and cannot be extended.

Extensions

There were 23% fewer (-69,963) grants of extensions, falling to 236,572 grants, accounted for by 28% fewer work-related grants (-33,907), 35% fewer study-related grants of extensions (-40,641) and partially offset by 29% more grants (+7,659) for other reasons (mainly an increase in discretionary leave). The -33,907 fall in work-related extensions was mainly accounted for by 32,055 fewer Tier 1 General grants (as this category has been closed to new entrants).

Permission to stay permanently (settlement)

There was a fall of a third (-33%; -51,542) in grants of permission to stay permanently, to 103,147 in 2014, the lowest figure since 1999 (97,115). This drop was accounted for by falls in family-related (-27,045), work-related (-20,499) and asylum-related grants (-4,075).

Detention

The number of people entering detention in 2014 fell slightly to 30,365 from 30,418 in 2013. Over the same period there was a fall of 1% in those leaving detention (from 30,030 to 29,655).

There was a continuing decline in the proportion of detainees being removed on leaving detention from a high of 64% in 2010 to 53% in 2014. Conversely, there was an increase in the proportion of detainees granted temporary admission or release, from 28% to 38% over the same period.

As at the end of December 2014, 3,462 people were in detention, 24% higher than the number recorded at the end of December 2013 (2,796). This increase may, in part, be accounted for by the opening in September 2014 of The Verne IRC as some detainees may have transferred from being held in prison establishments.

In 2014, 99 children entered detention. This was a 91% fall, and the lowest level since the beginning of the data series in 2009 (1,119).

Removals and Voluntary Departures

Enforced removals from the UK fell by 6% from 13,311 in 2013 to 12,460 in 2014.

The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed increased by 11% in 2014, to 15,943 from 14,396 for the previous year. However, the long-term trends show levels decreasing since 2004.

In 2014, there were 24,001 voluntary departures. Due to the retrospective nature of data-matching exercises that are undertaken in counting for some voluntary departures, this figure is particularly subject to upward revision as matching checks are made on travellers after departure.

Further, more detailed, analysis can be found below.

2. Data tables

Immigration statistics, October to December 2014: data tables.

3. Work

Valid: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 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 comparisons are with the previous 12 months unless indicated.

3.2 Key facts

In 2014, there were 8% more work-related visas granted (up 12,442 to 167,202), largely accounted for by 13% higher skilled work grants (+10,743) and 87% higher grants of investor visas (+1,397).

In the year ending September 2014, the ONS estimates that there were 66,000 non-EU long-term immigrants for work, a 57% (+24,000) statistically significant increase. Over the same period long-term (1 year or more) work-related visas granted to main applicants also rose, by 10% (+5,749) to 63,543. 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 2014 corresponded with a 14% increase in sponsored visa applications for skilled work over the same period (to 54,571 in 2014, main applicants). Most of the applications were for the Information and Communication (23,151), Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (10,439), and Financial and Insurance Activities (6,529) sectors.

Work-related grants of extensions fell by over a quarter (-28%; -33,907) to 88,551 in 2014. This included falls in Tier 1 General (-32,055) and Tier 1 Post Study (-816), both categories closed to new entrants, as well as for Tier 2 skilled workers (-2,194), and domestic workers (-1,235). These were partly offset by increases for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs (+2,278) and Tier 1 Investors (+377).

The ‘Migrant journey fifth report’ indicated that, based on data matching, over a quarter (28%) of those issued skilled work visas in 2008 had either been granted permission to stay permanently (settlement) or still had valid leave to remain 5 years later. This was lower than the 44% of those granted skilled work visas in 2004.

  2013 2014 Change Percentage change
Work-related visas granted 154,760 167,202 +12,442 +8%
of which:        
High value (Tier 1) visas 11,604 9,866 -1,738 -15%
Skilled (Tier 2) visas 79,982 90,725 +10,743 +13%
Youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5) visas 41,045 44,011 +2,966 +7%
Non-PBS/Other work visas 22,129 22,600 +471 +2%
  Year ending Sep 2013 Year ending Sep 2014 Change Percentage change
Long-term immigration for work (1), excluding dependants 42,000 66,000 +24,000 +57%
Long-term (1 year or more) work-related visas granted, excluding dependants 57,794 63,543 +5,749 +10%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014 Visas table vi 04, 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 and 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, but do show broadly similar trends with falls from 2006 followed by increased from the middle of 2013. Data on long-term work visas (1 year or more) for main applicants is much closer to the IPS series, and has become closer (the difference reducing from 47,000 in 2007 and 2008 to under 3,000 for the year ending September 2007. 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 year ending September 2014 has an estimated confidence interval of +/-13,000)
  • IPS data for work relates to individuals whose main reason for migration was work-related so (unlike visas data) is likely to exclude their dependants i.e. the IPS data is 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 includes dependents, and both short term and long-term migrants

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

The chart shows the trends for work of visas granted, admissions and International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of non-EU immigration, between 2005 and the latest data published. The data are sourced from Tables vi 04 q, ad 02 q and corresponding data

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014 ,Visas tables vi 04 q (Visas volume 1), Admissions tables 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 29,023 employers on the register on 31 December 2014, 7% more than on 2 January 2014 (27,177).

Skilled individuals (Tier 2)

There were 14% more sponsored visa applications (main applicants) from skilled individuals in 2014 compared with the previous year (from 47,845 to 54,571). The majority of the 54,571 certificates used related to the following sectors:

  • information and communication (23,151, +15%)
  • professional, scientific and technical activities (10,439, +22%)
  • financial and insurance activities (6,529, +11%)
  • human health and social work activities (3,121, +48%)
  • manufacturing (2,618, +3%)
  • education (2,739, +3%)

In the same period there were 6% fewer sponsored extension applications (main applicants) from skilled individuals compared with the previous year (from 35,195 to 33,185). The majority of the certificates related to the following sectors:

  • information and communication (6,616, -2%)
  • human health and social work activities (5,348, -16%)
  • professional, scientific and technical activities (4,909, -2%)
  • education (3,827, -4%)
  • financial and insurance activities (3,712, +2%)

Youth mobility and temporary workers (Tier 5)
There were 5% more sponsored visa applications (main applicants) from Youth mobility and temporary workers in 2014 compared with the previous year (from 43,209 to 45,342). The large majority of these 45,342 certificates related to the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (32,492, up 6%) and Education (4,890, up 7%) sectors. There were a total of 722 sponsored applications for extensions for Tier 5, the relatively small numbers reflecting the rules relating to extensions for such workers.

Admissions data include both those individuals who require a visa to enter the UK and those who in some circumstances do not (for periods of up to 6 months), known as ‘non-visa nationals’. Work-related admissions data are included in Admissions tables ad 02 to ad 03 and ad 03 w. Data for 2014 is planned to be published 27 August 2015.

For both work-related visas (data for 2014) and admissions (data for 2013), the 3 nationalities accounting for the highest numbers were Indian, United States and Australian. Most of the visas issued to Indians and to United States nationals were Tier 2 skilled work (52,409 of 59,464, and 10,781 of 15,247, respectively). By contrast most of the 17,250 visas issued to Australian nationals were Tier 5 Youth mobility (12,353).

The top 10 nationalities granted work visas were the same in 2014 as in 2013. The rankings were identical except for Chinese nationals which moved to seventh place from eighth, replacing Pakistani nationals which fell to eighth place. All of the top 10 nationalities had increases in the numbers of work visas granted except Pakistanis, which had a 2% (-114) fall.

(Total 167,202)

Not provided.

As the table below shows, the largest increases in work visas granted were for Indian and Australian nationals. However, there were also notable increases for nationalities that were not in the list of top 10 nationalities in the chart above, such as Hong Kong, South Africa and Venezuela.

The large percentage increase for Venezuelan nationals may have been 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.

Largest increases in work visa grants by nationality

  Nationality 2014 Change % change
1 India 59,464 +5,903 +11%
2 Australia 17,250 +1,767 +11%
3 China 5,692 +1,275 +29%
4 Hong Kong 1,712 +983 +135%
5 New Zealand 5,731 +518 +10%
6 South Africa 2,868 +429 +18%
7 Venezuela 497 +371 +294%
8 United States 15,247 +292 +2%
9 Canada 6,580 +286 +5%
10 Philippines 8,919 +222 +3%
  Other nationalities (1) 23,663 +2,580 +12%

Table note

(1) Total for other nationalities with an increase and nationalities with no change.

Similarly the table below shows that only one of the nationalities showing the largest decreases was also in list of top 10 nationalities in the chart above (Pakistan).

Largest decreases in work visa grants by nationality

  Nationality 2014 Change % change
1 Nigeria 1,910 -457 -19%
2 Ghana 627 -306 -33%
3 Bangladesh 686 -154 -18%
4 Indonesia 1,930 -140 -7%
5 Pakistan 4,561 -114 -2%
6 Nepal 701 -112 -14%
7 Saudi Arabia 491 -93 -16%
8 Croatia 1 -73 -99%
9 Sri Lanka 1,668 -71 -4%
10 Argentina 570 -70 -11%
  Other nationalities (2) 6,434 -594 -8%

Table note

(2) Total for other nationalities with a decrease.

3.7 Croatia

In the 18 months from accession to the EU on 1 July 2013, 923 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, 379 were for accession worker registration certificates and 544 were for other registration certificates. As at 20 January 2015, 322 of the accession worker registration certificate applications and 444 other registration certificates had been approved.

3.8 ‘EU2’ countries: Bulgaria and Romania

Applications for accession worker cards, required until 31 December 2013 by Bulgarians and Romanians to work in the UK as an employee, and for registration certificates that provide proof of residency rights, fell in 2013, with falls of 22% to 1,905 and 39% to 17,173 respectively. The corresponding data on approvals show falls of 15% to 1,526 and 42% to 13,066. Applications for accession worker cards and registration certificates followed a downward trend since 2011.

EEA tables ee 01 and ee 01 q show a complete 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 16 October 2014.

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

Work-related grants of extensions fell by over a quarter (-28% or -33,907) to 88,551 in 2014, in line with a fall in the number of decisions on extensions. This fall was mainly accounted for by 32,055 fewer Tier 1 General grants (closed to new entrants).

There were 38,774 work-related grants to stay permanently in 2014, 35% (-20,499) lower than in 2013 (59,273) and 54% lower than in 2010 (84,347). The 20,499 decrease was to a large extent accounted for by a decrease in settlement granted after 5 years with a work permit (from 13,944 to 2,641) and grants of settlement to Tier 1 High Value individuals (from 27,724 to 20,521). These falls reflect are likely to reflect previous lower numbers of visas and extensions granted in these categories following the introduction of the Points Based System in 2008, as well as the more recent closure of Tier 1 General and Tier 1 Post Study categories

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 and rates

Estimates from the Labour Market Statistics, February 2015, published by the ONS, show that the number of UK nationals in employment in October to December 2014 was 28.0 million, up 375,000 (+1.4%) from the same quarter in 2013.

The number of non-UK nationals in employment in October to December 2014 was 3.0 million, an increase of 239,000 or +9% from the comparable quarter in 2013. This change was driven by EU nationals: EU nationals in employment increased to 1.8 million (+269,000; +17%), whereas non-EU nationals in employment decreased to 1.1 million (-29,000; -2.5%).

The total growth in employment over the last year was 611,000, and 61% of this growth was accounted for by UK nationals.

3.11 Staying in the UK

The Migrant journey: fifth report reported that 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.

Over a quarter (28%) of those issued skilled work visas in 2008 had either been granted settlement or still had valid leave to remain 5 years later. This was lower than the 44% of those granted skilled work visas in 2004.

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.

Of the top 5 nationalities issued skilled work visas in the 2008 cohort, American and Australian nationals on work visas were less likely to have settled after 5 years (13%) whereas Chinese nationals were more likely to have settled (38% of Chinese skilled workers had reached settlement by 2013).

Comparison of the 2004 cohort to the 4 subsequent cohorts indicates that there has been a rise in the proportion of people whose leave had expired after 5 years, from 56% of those issued a skilled work visa in 2004 to 72% in 2008. This is reflected in the fall in the proportion of people from these cohorts who still had valid leave to remain after 5 years, from 15% for those who were issued a visa in 2004 to 8% for those in 2008. Some of this difference may be due to the increasing influence of the economic recession over the period analysed, which may have reduced the likelihood of some migrants applying to remain longer in the UK.

The proportion of non-EEA skilled workers who gained settlement after 5 years was similar for 2004, 2005 and 2006 cohorts (30%, 31% and 29% respectively) but lower for the 2007 and 2008 cohorts (21% and 20% respectively).

As expected migrants issued temporary work visas are least likely to have valid leave to remain after 5 years, compared to all other non-visit visa types. Of those issued temporary work visas in 2004, only 9% still had valid leave to stay in the UK after 5 years. This proportion fell to 4% for the 2008 cohort. Those obtaining further leave will have done so through switching into alternative immigration categories.

Source: Home Office, Migrant journey: fifth report.

3.12 Data tables

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

4. Study

Valid: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 2015

4.1 Introduction

This section includes figures on study-related visas granted, passenger arrivals, 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 granted rose slightly to 220,116 in 2014 (+0.7%; +1,491). Over the same period the number of university sponsored study visa applications (main applicants) was stable (168,565; +0.3%) whilst there were falls for other sectors, notably a 10% fall for the further education sector (-2,078) to 19,365.

In the year ending September 2014, the ONS estimates that there were 133,000 non-EU long-term study immigrants, an 8% (+10,000) increase (though not statistically significant). Over the same period long term (1 year or more) study-related visas granted (main applicants) rose 3% to 145,123. 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 September 2014, the number of non-EU former students who were long term emigrants from the UK was estimated to be much lower at 48,000.

There were higher numbers of study visas granted (excluding student visitors) for Chinese (+2,070 or +3%) and Saudi Arabian (+1,084; +12%) nationals, and falls for Indian (-999; -7%) and Nigerian (-1,521; -13%) nationals.

Study-related grants of extensions fell by over a third (-35%; -40,641) to 76,439 in 2014. Over the same period sponsored applications for study-related extensions (main applicants) fell 32% from 108,029 to 73,037 (largely due to fewer applications for universities and for the further education sectors).

The number of student visitor visas granted fell by 5% (-3,976) to 73,625, after previously doubling from 37,703 in 2009 to 77,601 in 2013. Student visitor visas are granted for short-term study (up to 6 months or 11 months for English Language courses) and cannot be extended.

The Migrant journey: fifth report indicated that, based on data matching, less than one in six (16%) of those granted study visas in 2008 had either been granted permission to stay permanently (settlement) or still had valid leave to remain 5 years later. This was lower than the 24% of those granted study visas in 2004, likely reflecting tightening of the Immigration Rules for students since September 2007.

  2013 2014 Change Percentage change
Study-related visas granted (excl. student visitors) 218,625 220,116 +1,491 +0.7%
of which:        
China 62,532 64,602 +2,070 +3%
United States 14,297 13,992 -305 -2%
India 13,603 12,604 -999 -7%
Malaysia 9,994 10,733 +739 +7%
Nigeria 12,010 10,489 -1,521 -13%
Saudi Arabia 9,361 10,445 +1,084 +12%
Hong Kong 9,653 9,433 -220 -2%
Thailand 4,924 4,775 -149 -3%
Russia 4,622 4,363 -259 -6%
Pakistan 4,932 4,341 -591 -12%
         
Student visitor visas (main applicants only) 77,601 73,625 -3,976 -5%
         
  Year ending Sep 2013 Year ending Sep 2014 Change: latest 12 months Percentage change
Long-term immigration for study (1) excluding dependants (1) 123,000 133,000 +10,000 +8%
Long-term (1 year or more) study-related visas granted excluding dependants 140,482 145,123 +4,641 +3%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014 Visas tables vi 04, vi 06 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.

The chart shows the trends for study of visas granted, admissions and International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of non-EU immigration, between 2005 and the latest data published. The data are sourced from Tables vi 04 q, ad 02 q and corresponding dat

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Visas tables vi 04 q (Visas volume 1), Admissions tables 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 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 10,000 in study-related immigration for the year ending September 2014 had an estimated confidence interval of +/-21,000)
  • IPS data for study relates to individuals whose main reason for migration was formal or other study so (unlike visas data) is likely to exclude their dependants i.e. the IPS data is 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 includes dependents, 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 December 2014 there were 1,570 educational institutions on the UK Visas and Immigration register of sponsoring educational institutions. This was 1% lower than the number on 30 September 2014 (1,590), and 8% lower than a year earlier (2 January 2014, 1,706) 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 0.8% in 2014 (208,427) compared to the previous 12 months (210,099). This included different trends for different sectors. There was a slight rise in sponsored visa applications for the university sector (to 168,565, +0.3%) and independent schools (to 14,035, 3%) along with falls in the further education sector (to 19,365, -10%) and English Language schools (to 3,351, -5%).

There were 73,037 sponsored applications for extensions (main applicants) in 2014, 32% fewer than in the previous 12 months. There were falls in sponsored applications for extensions in the university sector (to 55,667, -19%), the further education sector (to 14,497, -56%), English Language schools (to 637, - 50%) and independent schools (to 1,507, -41%).

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

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Sponsorship table cs 09 q.
‘Universities’ relate to UK-based Higher Education Institutions.
‘Further education’ relates to tertiary, further education or other colleges.

New entrants to UK Higher Education

Between academic years ending Aug 2013 and Aug 2014 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 2013/14 with 2008/9 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

4.5 Top 10 nationalities granted study visas

The number of study-related visas granted (excluding student visitors) rose 0.7% to 220,116 in 2014 (+1,491). The top 10 nationalities accounted for two-thirds (66%) of all study visas granted in 2014, with the top 5 nationalities (China, United States, India, Malaysia, Nigeria) accounting for over half (51%).

The number of study-related visas granted to Chinese nationals has increased steadily since the calendar year 2005 (18,977) and for 2014 was at the highest level recorded (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.

Top 10 nationalities granted study visas (excluding student visitors), 2014

(Total 220,116)

The chart shows visas granted for the purposes of study by nationality for 2014. The chart is based on data in Table vi 06.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Visas table vi 06.

4.6 Admissions

There were 3% fewer (-6,240) study-related admissions (excluding student visitors) in the year ending June 2014 (196,000) than in the previous 12 months (202,000).

4.7 Immigration for study, and emigration of former students

In the year ending September 2014, there were an estimated 133,000 non-EU long-term study-related immigrants, 8% (+10,000) higher than in the previous 12 months (123,000).

By contrast, In the year ending September 2014 there were an estimated 48,000 former students who emigrated long term from the UK, similar to the previous 12 months (49,000).

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

4.8 Extensions of stay

Study-related grants of extensions fell by over a third (-35%;-40,641) to 76,439 in 2014. This followed a fall from 140,151 in 2010 to 87,073 in 2012. The fall in grants corresponded to a fall in decisions on study-related extensions which fell 31% from 130,323 to 89,688. Similarly the number of sponsored applications for study-related extensions (main applicants) fell 32% (-34,992) from 108,029 to 73,037, largely accounted for falls in the further education (-18,520 or -56%) and university (-13,430 or -19%) sectors – further details 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.

There were 13,249 study-related refusals of extensions in 2014 similar to the 13,243 refusals in 2013. Together with the fall in grants, this meant that the refusal rate in 2014 was higher in 2014 at 15%, compared with 10% in 2013.

The 76,439 extensions included 441 grants under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme introduced on 6 April 2013.

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 32% (-34,992) from 108,029 to 73,037. The 34,992 drop was largely accounted for by falls of over half for the further education sector (-18,520 or -56%) and by a fifth for universities (-13,430 or -19%). There were also falls for Independent schools (-1,032 or -41%) and for English language schools (-626 or -50%).

As the chart below shows, over a longer period, the level of university sponsored applications has mainly remained at between 50,000 and 60,000 per annum; whereas the figures for the further education sector and for English language schools have fallen notably. The total number of sponsored extensions has fallen by 46,328 (-39%) from a peak of 119,365 in the year ending June 2011 to 73,037 in the calendar year 2014, with further education falling 35,058 (-71%) and English language schools falling 6,905 (-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 October to December 2014, 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

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.

4.12 Student visitor visas

The number of student visitor visas granted fell by 5% (-3,976) to 73,625, after previously doubling from 37,703 in 2009 to 77,601 in 2013.

4.13 Top 10 nationalities granted student visitor visas

The top 10 nationalities in the chart below accounted for almost three-quarters (72%) of the 73,625 student visitor visas granted in 2014. Although China is the largest nationality the pattern is different in important ways to that seen for normal study visas (e.g. with Russia second but only ninth for normal study visas; and Turkey third but does not figure in the top 10 for normal study visas).

The 5 largest increases in student visitor visas granted were for Libyan (+1,350; +49%), Thai (+767; +29%), Venezuelan (+574 or +164%), nationals. By contrast the largest falls were for Russian (-1,553; -14%), Turkish (-1,517; -17%), Omani (-1,100; -71%), nationals.

The large percentage increase for Venezuelan nationals may have been 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.

Similarly the figures for Omanis may reflect the introduction of the Electronic Visa Waiver scheme which allowed Omani nationals to visit the UK without a visa from 1 January 2014.

The increases in study (+18%) and student visitor visas (+49%) granted to Libyans follow a previous drop due to civil unrest in Libya.

Top 10 nationalities granted student visitor visas, 2014

(Total 73,625, main applicants only)

The chart shows student visitor visas granted by nationality for 2014. The chart is based on data in Table vi 06.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Visas table vi 06.

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.

4.14 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: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 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 figures on long-term immigration (i.e. those intending to stay for at least 12 months) for non-EU nationals 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.

5.2 Key facts

In 2014, 34,967 family-related visas were granted. This is an increase of 5% compared with 2013 (33,162). There was a 2% increase in the number of visas granted to all other dependants (excluding visitor visas) joining or accompanying migrants in the UK (78,159) compared with the previous 12 months (76,621).

The proportion of resolved family-related visa applications that were refused was 32%. This compares with 29% in the previous 12 months.

There were 37,335 extensions of stay for family reasons in 2014. Of this total, 18,053 (48%) were granted under the new Family Life (10-year) category and 19,210 (51%) were granted under the partner category.

Family-related grants to stay permanently fell by 45% to 32,604 from the previous year, continuing the overall downward trend since 2010 (69,228). There were notable decreases in grants to partners (-44% to 28,229).

In the year ending September 2014 (the latest provisional data available), the International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimated that 55,000 non-EU nationals immigrated to the UK to accompany or join others, with the intention of staying for a year or more. This is a statistically significant increase in comparison to 40,000 in the year ending September 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.

  2013 2014 Change Percentage change
Family-related visas granted 33,162 34,967 +1,805 +5%
of which:        
Partners 24,562 27,006 +2,444 +10%
Children 3,901 2,970 -931 -24%
Other dependants 4,699 4,991 +292 +6%
         
All other dependants (excl. visitor visas) 76,621 78,159 +1,538 +2%
         
EEA family permits granted 22,893 25,002 +2,109 +9%
         
  Year ending September 2013 Year ending September 2014 Change Percentage change
Long-term immigration to accompany or join others (1) 40,000 55,000 +15,000 +38%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014 Visas table vi 01 q, Office for National Statistics, Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.
(1) 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 is to the year ending September 2014 and is 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 the year ending September 2014, IPS estimates show that 55,000 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 has been rising steadily since the recent fall to 35,000 in the year ending June 2013. Visas granted to other dependants and for family have also shown small increases since the year ending June 2013, though not as pronounced as that for the IPS estimates.

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).

The chart shows the trends in visas granted and International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of immigration for family reasons/to accompany or join others between the year ending December 2005 and the latest data published. The visa data are sourced fro

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, 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 2014, 34,967 family-related visas were granted. This is an increase of 5% compared with 2013 (33,162).

Nationalities with the highest number of visas granted for family reasons in the year 2014

  2013 2014 Change: latest 12 months Percentage change
Family-related visas granted 33,162 34,967 +1,805 +5%
of which:        
Pakistan 3,930 5,070 +1,140 +29%
India 3,195 3,526 +331 +10%
United States 1,931 2,025 +94 +5%
Bangladesh 1,123 1,400 +277 +25%
Philippines 1,275 1,277 +2 0%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014 Visas table vi 06 q f.

Of the total visas granted for family reasons in 2014, 27,006 (77%) were granted to partners, 2,970 (8%) were granted to children and 4,991 (14%) were granted to other dependants. Compared with 2013, the number of family visas granted to partners increased by 10%, visas granted to children fell by 24% and visas granted to other dependants increased by 6%.

A visa application is resolved when a visa has been granted, refused or withdrawn, or when an application has lapsed. In 2014, 32% of resolved family-related visa applications were refused. This compares with 29% in the previous year.

There were 12,025 family-related visa applications refused in the second half of 2014 (40% of resolved applications) compared with 5,163 refusals (22% of resolved applications) in the previous 6 months. This increase follows the Court of Appeal upholding the lawfulness of the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route. Further details are given in the family section of the user guide.

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 2014, 78,159 of these visas (excluding visitors) were granted, an increase of 2% compared with the previous 12 months (76,621). Of the 78,159 visas granted, 61% (47,319) were granted to other dependants of workers, 25% (19,757) to other dependants of students and 14% (11,083) to other dependants accompanying or joining a migrant in the UK.

Despite the increase in visas granted to other dependants joining or accompanying migrants (+2%), the level is much lower than the peak of 106,723 in the year ending March 2007. There was a sharp decrease in the number of visas granted to dependants coming to the UK between the year ending June 2011 and the year ending December 2012 and this was, in part, consistent with changes to the rules governing visas granted to those coming to the UK for work or study and their dependants, from December 2010 and April 2011 respectively.

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 55,000 in the year ending September 2014. This is higher than 40,000 in the previous 12 months (+38%; a statistically significant increase).
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, and main applicants and dependants can apply under fiancé(e), partner, UK-born children, other relative categories and the new Family Life (10-year) route (where partners and parents who apply in the UK are granted leave to remain on a 10-year route to settlement on the basis of their family life – further information is given in the Extensions topic).

In 2014, there were 37,335 grants of extension for family-related reasons. This is a decrease from 40,409 in the previous 12 months, which followed year-on-year decreases in each of the previous 3 years from 22,048 in 2010 to 16,627 in 2012.

Of the 37,335 extensions for family reasons, 18,053 (48%) were granted under the Family Life (10-year) route and 19,210 (51%) were granted under the partner category. Few extensions of stay were granted under the UK-born children, fiancé or other relative categories.

The increase in the number of grants of extensions of stay for family reasons was accounted for by a rise in grants in the new Family Life (10-year) category, from 17,965 to 18,053. There was a fall in grants to partners, from 22,330 to 19,210.

As well as an increase in the number of grants of extensions of stay, there has also been a slight increase in the number of refusals of family-related extensions of stay. Refusals of family-related extensions rose from 15,530 2013 to 15,808 in 2014 (30% of all decisions); 12,533 refusals 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 2014, 52,976 extensions were granted to dependants (excluding visitors), a decrease of 16,703 (-24%) from the previous 12 months.

Analysis of extensions of stay by previous category shows that the 35,771 extensions granted to main applicants in 2013 for family reasons included 8,108 people previously in the family route (23%), 5,941 former students (17%), and 4,900 previously in the work category (14%).

5.8 Settlement

Family-related grants to stay permanently fell by 45%, to 32,604 in 2014. This continues the overall downward trend since 2010 (69,228).

The majority of settlement grants were for partners (28,229; 87%), with the remainder for children (3,952; 12%), parents and grandparents (158; 0%) and other or unspecified dependants (265; 1%).

There were decreases in all the family categories: a 44% fall (-22,267) in grants to partners, a 47% fall (-3,466) in grants to children, an 80% fall (-626) in grants to parents and grandparents and a 72% fall (-686) in grants to other or unspecified dependants.

Family-related grants of settlement have recently fluctuated. Settlement trends are likely to be influenced by resource availability.

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.

Of the people issued a family visa in 2008, 98% were main applicants and 2% were dependants. The proportion of dependants is low. However, this category does not include all family route dependants. Children of a parent granted a visa to enter the UK for a probationary period are included in the ‘Dependants joining/accompanying category’ as it is not possible to identify these ‘family route’ children separately from children of other migrants from the visa endorsement.

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 by any of their family members who are not EEA nationals, they must demonstrate that they are residing in the UK in accordance with the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and are ‘exercising Treaty rights’ in the UK.

There were 102,006 decisions on applications for EEA residence documents in 2013, 22% (18,362) more than in 2012.

Grants of permanent residence cards have shown a generally rising trend between 2007 (7,623) and 2013 (22,463). This may reflect the numbers previously issued registration certificates and registration cards and living in the UK under European regulations for 5 years becoming eligible to apply for permanent residence cards. Since 2010 Poland has been the top nationality granted permanent residence cards (4,212 in 2013), with Romanian and Bulgarian nationals rising to second and third in 2012 and 2013 (2,828 to Romanians and 2,402 to Bulgarians in 2013).

Grants of registration certificates and registration cards rose in 2013 (by 20% to 38,736), but have shown a generally falling trend since 2007. Polish nationals were granted the most registration certificates in each year between 2006 and 2011, but in 2012 and 2013 nationals of Portugal received the highest number (3,289 and 4,196 respectively).

The number of applications found to be invalid on receipt by the Home Office in 2013 compared to 2012 fell to 4,099 for registration certificates and registration cards (from 14,438) and to 2,390 for permanent residence cards (from 9,568). This category of decision was introduced in 2011 for applications that did not provide key information or documentation but, due to changes in late 2012 to the administration of EEA residence document applications, fewer applications were rejected as invalid in 2013. Applications are either issued or refused instead. Applications refused or found to be invalid may result in an immediate re-application, resulting in a further decision being counted in Table ee 02. The majority of applications recorded as invalid on receipt in 2013 were because the applicant had not included the fee required after 1 July 2013.

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: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 2015

6.1 Introduction

The figures in this section relate 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 calendar year 2014 and all comparisons are with the calendar year 2013, unless indicated otherwise.

6.2 Key facts

There were 546,371 visas granted in 2014 (excluding visitor and transit visas), 3% higher (+14,321) than the previous 12 months. Much of the increase was accounted for by a 10,743 rise in skilled work grants (+13%). There were also increases for grants of investor visas (+1,397), EEA family permits (+2,109) and family visas (+1,905), whilst grants of student visitor visa fell (-3,976).

The number of student visitor visas granted fell by 5% (-3,976), after doubling between 2009 and 2013. Student visitor visas are granted for short-term study (up to 6 months or 11 months for English language courses) and cannot be extended. The largest falls were for Russian (-1,553), Turkish (-1,517) and Omani (-1,100) nationals.

Excluding visitor and transit visas, Indian nationals were granted the largest number of visas in 2014 with 85,650 grants, of which 59,464 were work and 12,604 were study. Chinese nationals, excluding Hong Kong, accounted for the second highest numbers (85,158, mostly study or student visitors).

The number of visitor visas granted remained broadly flat for 2014 at around 1.9 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 3%.

The largest increases in visitor visa grants were for Chinese (+12%; +35,537, excluding Hong Kong), Philippine (+37%; +8,991) and Venezuelan (+1,757%; +6,942) nationals. The large percentage increase for Venezuelan nationals reflects changes from 5 May 2014, requiring all Venezuelan nationals to apply for a visa. Excluding Omani, Qatari and UAE nationals, the largest decreases were for Russian (-14%; -28,421) and South African (-9% or -7,933) nationals.

Visas granted by reason (excluding visitor and transit visas)

  Total granted (1) Work Study Student visitors (2) Family Dependant joining or accompanying Other
2009 597,450 155,691 303,361 37,703 49,173 17,480 34,042
2010 596,966 160,737 285,544 49,191 52,309 15,357 33,828
2011 564,807 149,310 261,870 61,406 44,940 14,155 33,126
2012 507,540 145,110 209,749 68,351 40,149 11,700 32,481
2013 532,050 154,760 218,625 77,601 33,162 11,720 36,182
2014 546,371 167,202 220,116 73,625 34,967 11,083 39,378
Change: latest year +14,321 +12,442 +1,491 -3,976 +1,805 -637 +3,196
Percentage change +3% +8% +1% -5% +5% -5% +9%
The chart shows the number of entry clearance visas granted, excluding visitor and transit visas, between 2005 and the latest rolling year available. The data are available in Table vi 04 q, Visas vol. 1.

Table and chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, based on data in Visas table vi 04 q, Visas vol. 1.
(1) Figures exclude visitor and transit visas.
(2) Student visitors are allowed to come to the UK for 6 months (or 11 months if they will be studying an English Language course) and cannot extend their stay. For consistency and comparability over time student visitor visas have been excluded from study-related totals. For further discussion see the Study section.

The falls in work, study and family visas granted from 2010 to 2012 are consistent with policy changes which came into effect from the end of 2010. The latest increases for work and study reflect increased levels of applications for particular industry and educational sectors. Detailed briefing on the trends of visas granted for work, study or family reasons (together with dependants joining or accompanying) are available in the Work section, Study section and Family section.

6.3 Visas granted by nationality

There were 546,371 visas granted in 2014, excluding visitor and transit visas, 3% (+14,321) higher than in 2013 (532,050).

The following map illustrates the top 10 nationalities granted visas in 2014, which accounted for 60% of the total. Indian nationals were granted the highest number of visas (85,650; 16%), followed by Chinese (85,158; 16%) and United States nationals (36,152; 7%). Figures for China exclude Hong Kong.

Top 10 nationalities granted visas

(Total 546,371, 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 2014. The data are available in Table vi 06 q, Visas vol. 2.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics October to December 2014, Visas table vi 06 q, Visas vol. 2.
(1) China excludes Hong Kong.

6.4 Visas granted by nationality: changes

The following table shows that the largest increases in visas granted were for Indian, Chinese, Libyan, Australian and Saudi Arabian nationals. Higher numbers of work visas accounted for most of the increase for Indians and part of the increase for the Chinese. The other main contributions to increases were study and student visitor visas.

Largest increases in visa grants by nationality

Nationality Change % change Main components of change
India +6,542 +8% Work: +5,903; EEA family permits: +1,234, offset by a fall in study: -999
China +4,044 +5% Study: +2,070; work: +1,275
Libya +2,262 +36% Student visitors: +1,350; study: +569
Australia +1,999 +11% Work: +1,767
Saudi Arabia +1,666 +9% Study: +1,084; other temporary +567

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Visas table vi 06 q and vi 06 q o, Visas vol. 2 and 3.

By contrast, the following table shows the largest decreases in visas granted by nationality. The largest falls were for Nigerian and Russian nationals.

Largest decreases in visa grants by nationality

Nationality Change % change Main components of change
Nigeria -2,657 -14% Study: -1,521; student visitors: -694; work: -457
Russia -2,498 -11% Student visitors: -1,553; other temporary: -866
Turkey -1,762 -12% Student visitors: -1,517
United States -651 -2% Dependant joining or accompanying: -522; study: -305; other temporary: -142, offset by an increase in work: +292
Oman -647 -15% Student visitors: -1,100, offset by increases in study (+278) and other temporary (+205)

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Visas tables vi 06 q and vi 06 q o, Visas vol. 2. and 3.

More detailed commentary on visa statistics by reason and nationality is included in the Work topic, Study topic, and Family topic.

6.5 Visitor visas granted

The number of visitor visas granted remained broadly flat at 1.9 million (-0.3%) in 2014, excluding Omani, Qatari and UAE nationals who 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 table below shows the nationalities contributing to the largest increases and decreases, excluding the impact of the Electronic Visa Waiver scheme.

Including Omani, Qatari and UAE nationals, there were 1.9 million (1,879,321) visitor visas granted, a fall of 3%. The falls were -9,818 for Omani (-91%), -15,853 for Qatari (-67%) and -31,306 for UAE (-81%) nationals.

Largest increases and largest decreases in visitor visa grants

(Changes shown below are for all nationalities excluding Omani, Qatari and UAE nationalities, for which the figures were affected by the introduction of the Electronic Visa Waiver scheme: see above)

Nationality Change % change Nationality Change % change
China +35,537 +12% Russia -28,421 -14%
Philippines +8,991 +37% South Africa -7,933 -9%
Venezuela +6,942(1) (1) Ukraine -7,678 -20%
Saudi Arabia +4,553 +5% Nigeria -5,457 -5%
Turkey +3,881 +5% Libya -4,988 -49%
India +2,937 +1% Pakistan -4,418 -7%
Colombia +2,263 +11% Thailand -2,770 -5%
Lebanon +1,186 +8% Ghana -2,359 -14%
Kenya +915 +8% Bangladesh -2,069 -11%
Azerbaijan +913 +13% Bahrain -1,471 -13%

Table notes

(1) There was a large percentage increase for visitor visas granted to Venezuelans from 395 in 2013 to 7,337 in 2014. This 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.
Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Visas table vi 06 q o, Visas vol. 3.

6.6 Data tables

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

7. Admissions

Valid: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 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 arrival data are available up to the end of 2014; 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 5% to 117.0 million in 2014 compared with 111.3 million in 2013, the highest since the data series began.

The higher number of journeys in 2014 (up 5.7 million) was accounted for by 5.2 million more journeys by British, other EEA and Swiss nationals (totalling 102.5 million) and 0.5 million more journeys by non-EEA nationals (14.5 million).

For non-EEA nationals more detailed data by category are less up to date than the totals; however, they do show a comparable increase. 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 18,038 in 2014 compared with 2013 (16,292).

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 October to December 2014, 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 2003 and the latest calendar year available. The data are available in Table ad 01.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, 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 10 nationalities accounted for 68% of all journeys made.

Top 10 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.

7.4 Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Admissions table ad 03.

7.5 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: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 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 calendar year 2014 and all comparisons are with the 2013, unless indicated otherwise.

8.2 Key facts

There were 24,914 asylum applications in 2014, an increase of 6% compared with 2013 (23,584). The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132).

In 2014, the largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Eritrea (3,239), followed by Pakistan (2,711). Grants rates for asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or other grants of stay vary between nationalities. For example, 87% of the total decisions made for nationals of Eritrea were grants, compared with 20% for Pakistani nationals.

Most applications for asylum are made by those already in the country (90% of applications) rather than by people arriving at port. Applicants tend to be young and male.

The number of initial decisions on asylum applications has increased by 14%, to 19,936 in 2014. Of these decisions, 41% (8,096) were grants of asylum, a form of temporary protection or other type of grant, compared with 37% (6,542) in 2013.

At the end of 2014, 22,974 of the applications for asylum received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review). This was 34% more than at the end of 2013 (17,180). The number of decisions outstanding increased during this period due to a decrease in staffing levels following a restructure initiated by the UK Border Agency. Since January 2014, the Home Office has taken steps to reallocate resources to this area.

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service received 8,200 asylum appeals from main applicants in 2014, a fall of 4% compared with 2013 (8,519).

At the end of December 2014, 29,753 asylum seekers were being supported while their asylum claim was finally determined (under Section 95). The number of failed asylum seekers and their dependants receiving support (under Section 4) was 4,994. These were up 27% and 3% respectively compared with the previous year.

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.

In addition to those asylum seekers who apply in the UK, resettlement schemes are offered. In 2014, a total of 787 were resettled in the UK. Of these, 143 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 (1) Granted as a % of initial decisions Refused Refused as a % of initial decisions
2010 17,916 20,261 5,195 26% 15,066 74%
2011 19,865 17,380 5,649 33% 11,731 67%
2012 21,843 16,774 6,059 36% 10,715 64%
2013 23,584 17,543 6,542 37% 11,001 63%
2014 24,914 19,936 8,096 41% 11,840 59%
Change: latest year +1,330 +2,393 +1,554 - +839 -
Percentage change +6% +14% +24% - +8% -

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Asylum table as 01.
(1) Granted includes grants of asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, leave to remain under family life or private life rules, leave outside the rules and UASC leave.

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 October to December 2014, 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 2014, the largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Eritrea (3,239), followed by Pakistan (2,711), Syria (2,081) and Iran (2,011). In 2014, the number of asylum applications from Eritrean nationals more than doubled to 3,239 from 1,387 in 2013.

Grants rates for asylum, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or other grants of stay vary between nationalities. For example, 87% of the total decisions made for nationals of Eritrea were grants, compared with 20% for Pakistani nationals, 54% for Iranian nationals and 86% for Syrian nationals.

Top 10 nationalities applying for asylum, 2014 compared with 2013

Ranking 2014 (Year 2013) Nationality Year 2014 Year 2013 Percentage change
1 (5) Eritrea 3,239 1,387 +134%
2 (1) Pakistan 2,711 3,359 -19%
3 (4) Syria 2,081 1,648 +26%
4 (2) Iran 2,011 2,410 -17%
5 (6) Albania 1,576 1,325 +19%
6 (11) Sudan 1,449 743 +95%
7 (3) Sri Lanka 1,282 1,811 -29%
8 (8) Afghanistan 1,136 1,038 +9%
9 (10) Nigeria 875 931 -6%
10 (7) Bangladesh 742 1,123 -34%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Asylum table as 01 q.

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. Since the early 90s, increasing numbers of people have sought asylum from Eritrea in the circumstances of international concern over human rights within the country.

8.4 Applications pending

At the end of 2014, 22,974 of the applications received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review), 34% more than at the end of 2013 (17,180). The majority of the increase was accounted for by a rise in the number pending an initial decision (from 13,628 to 17,067). The number of applications pending further review increased by 66% from 3,552 in 2013 to 5,907 in 2014.

The number of decisions outstanding increased during this period due to a decrease in staffing levels following a restructure initiated by the UK Border Agency. Since January 2014, the Home Office has taken steps to reallocate resources to this area. The Home Office is working to ensure that straightforward asylum applications made before 1 April 2014 receive initial decisions by 31 March 2015.

8.5 Asylum appeals

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service received 8,200 asylum appeals from main applicants in 2014, a fall of 319 (-4%) compared with 2013 (8,519). This remains well below the peak in the number of appeals for 2009 (14,340) using comparable data available from 2007.

In 2014, the proportion of appeals dismissed was 66%, while 28% of appeals were allowed and 6% were withdrawn.

8.6 Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC)

There were 1,861 asylum applications from UASCs in 2014, an increase of 47% from 2013 (1,265). These applications represented 7% of all main applications for asylum. Despite the recent increase in UASC applications, they remain below the peak of 3,976 in 2008.

There were 1,277 initial decisions for UASCs in 2014, 15% higher than in 2013 (1,112). Overall, there was a fall in the proportion of decisions that were grants, from 73% of decisions in 2013 to 71% in 2014.

8.7 Age disputes

The Home Office disputes the age of some asylum applicants who claim to be children.

In 2014, 310 asylum applicants had their age disputed and there were 449 recorded as having completed an age assessment. The number of disputes over the ages of applicants does not necessarily relate to the number of age assessments made in the same period.

Of those who completed age assessments in 2014, 54% 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 29,875 in 2013 to 31,433 in 2014, an increase of 5%. This is an average of 1 dependant for every 4 main applicants.

In 2014, 6,044 initial decisions were made relating to dependants. Of these 1,711 (28%) were granted asylum, 217 (4%) were granted a form of temporary protection or other type of grant, and 4,116 (68%) were refused.

8.9 Support

At the end of 2014, 29,753 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 below the figure for end of 2003 (the start of the published data series), when there were 80,123 asylum seekers in receipt of Section 95.

There is a high concentration of those supported under Section 95 in a few local authority areas. For example, at the end of 2014 the 5 local authorities with the greatest number (Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester) accounted for 26% of the total.

The number of failed asylum seekers and their dependants receiving support (under Section 4) at the end of December 2014 was 4,994. Failed asylum seekers (main applicants only) receiving support peaked at the end of September 2009 (12,019).

In 2014, there were 16,267 applications for support compared with 13,026 in 2013 and 68,624 in 2002. The overall fall in support applications and numbers receiving support is generally in line with the fall in the number asylum applications since their peak in 2002 (84,132 main applicants) and the clearance of a backlog of asylum cases from the early part of the century.

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 2014, a total of 787 were resettled in the UK through this process. Of these, 143 were 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 10 EU countries receiving asylum applications, 2014

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

The chart shows the top 10 EU countries receiving asylum applications in 2014. The data are available in Table as 07.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, 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 five times as many applications as the UK). In 2014, Denmark appeared in the top 10 for the first time.

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, unchanged from 2013.

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).The latest Eurostat figures for the third quarter of 2014 show that the top 3 nationalities of those seeking asylum in the EU28 were Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan.

Eurostat quarterly asylum figures are published in ‘Asylum applicants and first instance decisions on asylum applications’. The user guide also provides a discussion on the differences between the definition of asylum applications used in this release compared to those published by Eurostat.

8.12 Data tables

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

9. Extensions of stay

Valid: 26 February to 20 May 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 calendar year 2014 and all comparisons are with the 2013, unless indicated otherwise.

9.2 Key facts

There were 26% (102,581) fewer decisions on extensions in 2014. Of the 291,974 decisions, four-fifths (236,572) were grants and a fifth (55,402) were refusals. The number of decisions in 2014 was similar to that in 2012 (291,827).

In line with the fall in decisions, work-related grants of extensions fell by over a quarter (-28% or -33,907) to 88,551 in 2014. This fall was mainly accounted for by 32,055 fewer Tier 1 General grants (closed to new entrants).

Study-related grants of extensions fell by over a third (-35% or -40,641) to 76,439 in 2014. This was in line with a fall in decisions on study-related extensions which fell 31% from 130,323 to 89,688.

Family-related grants of extensions fell by 8% (-3,074) to 37,335 in 2014. This was accounted for by a fall for partners from 22,330 to 19,210.

Grants of extensions by reason, and refusals

Year Total decisions Total grants Work Study Family (1) Other (1) Refusals
2010 371,868 309,475 126,943 140,151 22,048 20,333 62,393
2011 347,637 299,600 134,377 119,303 17,189 28,731 48,037
2012 291,827 261,810 140,947 87,073 16,627 17,163 30,017
2013 394,555 306,535 122,458 117,080 40,409 26,588 88,020
2014 291,974 236,572 88,551 76,439 37,335 34,247 55,402
Change: latest 12 months -102,581 -69,963 -33,907 -40,641 -3,074 +7,659 -32,618
Percentage change -26% -23% -28% -35% -8% +29% -37%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, 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 October to December 2014, Extensions table ex 01.

9.3 Grants of extensions for work

There were 88,551 work-related grants of extensions in 2014, 28% lower than 2013 (122,458). Grants in Tier 1 High Value and Tier 2 Skilled Work account for a large majority (78,300) of the 88,551 work-related grants.

Grants of extensions to Tier 1 High Value individuals for work fell from 47,291 to 17,338 (-63%) in 2014. This reflected falls in grants in two categories that had been closed to new entrants: Tier 1 General (from 40,311 to 8,256) and Post-Study work (from 904 to 88), partly offset by a 46% increase in the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category (from 5,003 to 7,281).

Grants of extensions for Tier 2 Skilled Workers fell by 3% in 2014, reflecting falls in Tier 2 General category, from 44,126 to 42,773, and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfers category, from 17,496 to 17,043.

Grants of extensions: Tiers 1 and 2

Category 2013 2014 Change Percentage change
Total Tier 1 and pre-PBS equivalent 47,291 17,338 -29,953 -63%
of which:        
Tier 1: Entrepreneurs 5,003 7,281 +2,278 +46%
Tier 1: General 40,311 8,256 -32,055 -80%
Tier 1: Post-Study 904 88 -816 -90%
Total Tier 2 and pre-PBS equivalent 63,156 60,962 -2,194 -3%
of which:        
Tier 2: General 44,126 42,773 -1,353 -3%
Tier 2: Intra-Company Transfers 17,496 17,043 -453 -3%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Extensions table ex 01 q.

9.4 Grants of extensions for study

Study-related grants of extensions fell by over a third (-35% or -40,641) to 76,439 in 2014. This followed a fall from 140,151 in 2010 to 87,073 in 2012. The 76,439 extensions included 441 grants under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme introduced on 6 April 2013. The fall in grants corresponded to a fall in decisions on study-related extensions which fell 31% from 130,323 to 89,688. Similarly the number of sponsored applications for study-related extensions (main applicants) fell 32% from 108,029 to 73,037 (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 fell by 8%, (-3,074) to 37,335 in 2014. Within this total there was a decrease in grants to partners, from 22,330 to 19,210 and a slight increase in the Family Life (10-year) category from 17,965 to 18,053.

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.

Grants of extensions for other reasons

Grants of extensions in other categories increased by 29% (+7,659) to 34,247 in 2014. 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 3,343 to 10,423). The data are provisional and some of the remainder of the increase will be re-classified into other groups when the data is finalised in May, following further processing.

9.6 Refusals of extensions by category

There were 55,402 refusals of applications for extensions in 2014 (19% of total decisions), compared with 88,020 in 2013 (22% of total decisions). The 32,618 decrease is accounted for by falls in the ‘other’ category (-30,706 to 15,537) and work-related (-2,196 to 10,808) refusals. The decrease in the ‘other’ category followed an increase from 7,390 in 2012 to 46,243 in 2013.

Family-related refusals increased slightly from 15,530 in 2013 to 15,808 in 2014.

There were 13,249 Study-related refusals in 2014 compared with 13,243 in 2013

9.7 Nationalities granted an extension

(excludes dependants)

Data for grants by nationality in 2014 are planned to be published in Immigration Statistics January to March 2015, due to be released in May 2015.

Of the total 232,213 extensions of stay in 2013, 38% (87,160) were granted to nationals of South Asia and 22% (50,539) were granted to East Asia.

Top 10 nationalities granted an extension to stay, 2013

(Total number of grants 232,213, excludes dependants)

The chart shows grants of extension of stay by nationality in 2013. The chart is based on data in Table ex 02.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Extension table ex 02.

Nine of the top 10 nationalities granted extensions in 2013 were also in the top 10 list for 2012. The exception was Jamaica (displacing Australia) which ranked eighth, with 5,396 grants (of which 2,832 grants were Discretionary leave and 1,666 grants were in the Family Life (10-year route) category).

9.8 Data tables

Further data 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: 26 February to 20 May 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 calendar year 2014 and all comparisons are with the 2013, unless indicated otherwise.

10.2 Key facts

The number of people granted permission to stay permanently fell by a third (-33%; -51,542) to 103,147 in 2014, the lowest figure since 1999 (97,115). The decrease was accounted for by falls in family-related (-27,045), work-related (-20,499) and asylum-related grants (-4,075).

There were 38,774 work-related grants to stay permanently in 2014, 35% (-20,499) lower than in 2013 (59,273) and 54% lower than in 2010 (84,347). The 20,499 decrease was mainly accounted for by a decrease in settlement granted after 5 years with a work permit (from 13,944 to 2,641) and grants to Tier 1 High Value individuals (from 27,724 to 20,521).

Family-related grants to stay permanently fell by 45% to 32,604, continuing the overall downward trend since 2010 (69,228). There were notable decreases in grants to wives (from 33,844 to 18,690) and husbands (from 16,652 to 9,539).

Asylum-related grants to stay permanently fell by 19% to 17,191 in 2014. The levels of asylum-related grants were relatively high in the first half of 2013 which may reflect additional resource deployed to decision-making.

Grants to stay permanently for other reasons rose by 1% (+77), to 14,578 but remain significantly lower than in 2010 (82,686).

Grants to stay permanently by reason, and refusals

Year Total decisions Total grants Work Asylum (1) Family Other (2) Refusals
2010 252,326 241,192 84,347 4,931 69,228 82,686 11,134
2011 174,933 166,878 69,892 13,003 54,086 29,897 8,055
2012 133,850 129,749 62,195 11,434 47,374 8,746 4,101
2013 161,368 154,689 59,273 21,266 59,649 14,501 6,679
2014 108,618 103,147 38,774 17,191 32,604 14,578 5,471
Change: latest 12 months -52,750 -51,542 -20,499 -4,075 -27,045 +77 -1,208
Percentage change -33% -33% -35% -19% -45% +1% -18%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Settlement table se 02 q.
(1) The low level of asylum-related grants in 2010 reflects a rule change in August 2005 that effectively delayed grants for some people. This rule change meant that people given refugee status no longer received a grant immediately, and instead they were given 5 years’ temporary permission to stay.
(2) The high number of grants in 2010 and 2011 mainly resulted from a review of the backlog of cases from before March 2007 involving unsuccessful asylum applicants.

Asylum-related settlement data for the second and third quarters 2014 have been revised in light of additional outcomes identified in the administrative database. For further details see the revisions section of the user guide.

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 October to December 2014, 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 10 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 October to December 2014, 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 Somalia which ranked 8th, with 4,341 grants and Sri Lanka ranked 10th, with 3,889 grants.

10.4 Data tables

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

11. Citizenship

Valid: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 2015

11.1 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 calendar year 2014 and all comparisons are with the 2013, unless indicated otherwise.

11.2 Key facts

In 2014 there were 132,414 decisions about British citizenship, 38% fewer than in 2013 (215,258). Correspondingly, there were 40% fewer people granted British citizenship (down by 82,234 to 125,755). This was the lowest annual figure since 2002 (120,121).

Applications for British citizenship fell by 45% to 126,639 in 2014, a level not seen since 2004 (125,668). A change in language requirements on 28 October 2013 led to an increase in applications in the third quarter of 2013. Subsequently grants also increased in the fourth quarter of 2013 as these cases were decided. 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 as this work was completed and resources returned to UKVI.

As shown in the table below, the 82,234 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.

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
2010 203,020 195,046 93,681 47,028 48,611 5,726 7,974
2011 184,669 177,785 94,660 35,616 41,993 5,516 6,884
2012 201,087 194,209 107,102 39,122 42,964 5,021 6,878
2013 215,258 207,989 113,339 46,301 44,275 4,074 7,269
2014 132,414 125,755 62,566 26,214 32,317 4,658 6,659
Change: latest year -82,844 -82,234 -50,773 -20,087 -11,958 +584 -610
Percentage change -38% -40% -45% -43% -27% +14% -8%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Citizenship tables cz 01 q and cz 02 q.

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

The chart shows the number of grants of British citizenship between 2004 and the latest calendar year. The data are available in Table cz 03.

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, 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 (125,755) 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 have shown a rising trend since 2001, with 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 126,639, 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.

11.3 Grants of citizenship by previous nationality

Data for grants by nationality in 2014 are planned to be published in Immigration Statistics January-March 2015, due to be released in May 2015.

Former Indian and Pakistani nationals have accounted for the largest numbers of grants in almost every year from 1998 to 2013, 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 2013.

Top 10 previous nationalities granted citizenship, 2013

(Total number of grants 207,989)

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 October to December 2014, Citizenship table cz 06.

Increased grants to former nationals of Nepal and Poland placed them in the top 10 for the first time in 2013 (displacing Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe), reflecting increased grants of settlement to nationals of Nepal since 2005 and the issue of documents in recognition of permanent residence (under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006) to nationals of Poland since 2009.

11.4 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 2013 London remained the region with the highest proportion of ceremonies (41%).

11.5 Data tables

Further data on British citizenship are available in Citizenship tables cz 01 to cz 10. In addition to applications and detailed breakdowns of decisions, these include information on refusals, citizenship ceremonies attended and renunciations of citizenship.

12. Detention

Valid: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 2015

12.1 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 calendar year 2014 and all comparisons are with the 2013, unless indicated otherwise.

12.2 Key facts

The number of people entering detention in 2014 fell slightly to 30,365 from 30,418 in the previous year. Over the same period there was a fall of 1% in those leaving detention (from 30,030 to 29,655).

There was a continuing decline in the proportion of detainees being removed on leaving detention from a high of 64% in 2010 to 53% in 2014. Conversely, there was an increase in the proportion of detainees granted temporary admission or release, from 28% to 38% over the same period.

As at the end of December 2014, 3,462 people were in detention, 24% higher than the number recorded at the end of December 2013 (2,796). This increase may, in part, be accounted for by the opening in September 2014 of The Verne IRC as some detainees may have transferred from being held in prison establishments.

In 2014, 99 children entered detention. This was a 91% fall, and the lowest level since the beginning of the data series in 2009 (1,119).

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

Year Entering detention Leaving detention In detention
2011 27,089 27,181 2,419
2012 28,905 28,575 2,685
2013 30,418 30,030 2,796
2014 30,365 29,655 3,462
Change: latest year -53 -375 +666
Percentage change 0% -1% +24%

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, Detention tables dt 01 q, dt 05 q and dt 11 q.
(1) The in detention figures are as at the end of December in each year.

12.3 Length of detention

During 2014, 29,655 people left detention. Of these, 18,783 (63%) had been in detention for less than 29 days, 5,145 (17%) for between 29 days and two months and 3,786 (13%) for between two and four months. Of the 1,941 (7%) remaining, 134 had been in detention for between one and two years and 27 for two years or longer.

37% of people leaving detention were detained for seven days or less (11,042). Of these, 5,615 (51%) were removed, 5,115 (46%) were granted temporary admission or release, 110 (1%) were granted leave to enter or remain and 95 (1%) were bailed. Of the 161 detained for 12 months or more, 70 (43%) were removed, 53 (33%) were bailed and 33 (20%) were granted temporary admission or release.

12.4 Children in detention

The number of children entering detention in 2014 fell to 99, the lowest number of children entering detention since the beginning of the data series in 2009 (1,119). The number of children entering detention fell from a high of 322 in the third quarter of 2009 to 19 in the first quarter of 2011.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, 35 children entered detention, compared with 67 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and 65 in the fourth quarter of 2012. Of these, 15 were initially detained at Tinsley House (Family Unit) IRC, 12 at Cedars PDA and 8 at other IRCs and STHFs.

Of the 33 children leaving detention in the fourth quarter of 2014, 18 were granted temporary admission or release, 13 were removed from the UK, 1 entered criminal detention and 1 was released unconditionally. Of those leaving detention, 31 had been detained for less than four days and 2 for between four and seven 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 39%.

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 October to December 2014, 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.

12.5 Immigration detainees in prisons

As at 15 December 2014 there were 394 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.

12.6 Data tables

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

13. Removals and voluntary departures

Valid: 26 February 2015 to 20 May 2015

13.1 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.

In our previous quarterly release we highlighted that provisional data matching figures were subject to review, following the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s Inspection of Overstayers (see 2014 Inspection Reports). Home Office Statistics have 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 departure total for 2013 has been revised down by 18% (from 39,282 to 32,178); and the voluntary departure total for Q1 2014 to Q3 2014 has been revised down by 16% (from 23,532 to 19,665). However, these problems of interpretation are not considered to have significantly influenced figures for earlier years.

All data below relate to the calendar year 2014 and all comparisons are with the 2013, unless indicated otherwise.

13.2 Key facts

Enforced removals from the UK decreased by 6% to 12,460 in 2014 compared with the previous year (13,311).

The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed has increased by 11% in 2014, to 15,943 from 14,396 for the previous year. However, the long-term trends show levels decreasing since 2004.

In 2014, there were 24,001 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
2009 15,252 29,162 22,800 4,944 4,317 13,539 59%
2010 14,854 18,276 27,114 4,541 5,996 16,577 61%
2011 15,063 15,700 26,419 3,120 7,587 15,712 59%
2012 14,647 13,789 29,663 3,706 6,749 19,208 65%
2013 13,311 14,396 32,178 4,297 8,150 19,731 61%
2014 (1) 12,460 15,943 24,001 2,406 10,609 10,986 46%
Change: latest year (5) -851 +1,547          
Percentage change -6% +11%          

Table notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, 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 departure: where a person notifies the Home Office that they have departed. This includes those removed from detention facilities.
(4) Other confirmed voluntary departure: where a person has been identified as leaving when they no longer had the right to remain in the UK, either as a result of embarkation controls or by subsequent data-matching on Home Office systems. 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. The 42% decrease from the third quarter of 2009 (7,751) to the second quarter of 2010 (4,520) has no identified single cause, although 26% of the decrease was due to a fall in the number of nationals of Afghanistan being refused entry and subsequently removed (-855). The overall falls are likely to be due to a combination of factors, including tighter screening of 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 the past couple of years, the figures have shown small levels of fluctuations.

The long-term trend in voluntary departures increased steadily to the first quarter of 2010, but quarterly figures since 2010 have shown signs of a more gradual upward trend until the first quarter of 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 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.

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

Chart notes

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics October to December 2014, 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.

Additional work has taken place to review the provisional data matching decisions. This relates to work the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has undertaken as part of an Inspection of Overstayers (see 2014 Inspection Reports) and Home Office Statistics have worked closely with the data owners to review and revise data. The voluntary departures figures have been revised as follows:

    2013       Q1 to Q3 2014    
  Published November 2014 Published February 2015 Difference Difference Published November 2014 Published February 2015 Difference Difference
Total enforced removals 13,313 13,311 -2 0% 9,247 9,359 +112 +1%
Total refused entry at port and subsequently departed 14,338 14,396 +58 0% 11,474 11,603 +129 +1%
Total voluntary departures 39,282 32,178 -7,104 -18% 23,532 19,665 -3,867 -16%
Assisted Voluntary Returns 4,298 4,297 -1 0% 2,031 2,020 -11 -1%
Notified voluntary departures 8,671 8,150 -521 -6% 7,560 7,657 +97 +1%
Other confirmed voluntary departures 26,313 19,731 -6,582 -25% 13,941 9,988 -3,953 -28%

Of the total voluntary departures in 2014, 46% of those departing were categorised as other confirmed voluntary departures, closely followed by 44% as notified voluntary departures and 10% as Assisted Voluntary Returns (AVRs). The largest category, other confirmed voluntary departures, are cases where a person has been identified as leaving when they no longer had the right to remain in the UK, either as a result of embarkation controls or by subsequent data-matching on Home Office systems. This category has been the largest within total voluntary departures since 2007 when it surpassed AVRs. Other confirmed voluntary departures increased from 6,883 in 2007 to 19,731 in 2013 and the latest data show 10,986 in 2014, although the latest 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.

13.3 Asylum and non-asylum enforced removals

In 2014, there were 4,191 enforced removals of people who had sought asylum at some stage, down 13% from the previous year (4,828). 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 2014, 66% of total enforced removals were non-asylum cases (8,269), down 3% from the previous year (8,483) and down 18% from the peak of 10,070 in 2008.

13.4 Removals and voluntary departures by nationality

The highest number of enforced removals in 2014 was for Pakistani nationals (1,781; 14% of the total). The second highest was for Indian nationals (1,175; 9% of the total).

The highest number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently departed was for United States nationals (2,030; 13% of the total). The second and third highest numbers were for Albanian (1,321; 8% of the total) and Brazilian (799; 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 2014 was for Indian nationals (5,600; 23% of the total), who have also shown the largest decrease compared with the previous year (-1,749 or -24%). The second highest number was for Pakistani nationals, with 3,469 voluntary departures.

13.5 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 under the current administration; ‘Higher harm’ assessments include people who have committed serious criminal and immigration offences.

In 2014, 12,460 enforced removals and 24,001 voluntary departures were subject to an assessment for a harm rating, of which 15% 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’.

13.6 Foreign national offenders

The Home Office removes foreign national offenders either by using enforcement powers or via deportation. In 2014, provisional data show that 5,022 foreign national offenders (FNOs) were removed, a small increase of 1% from the previous year (4,993).

13.7 Data tables:

Further data on removals and voluntary departures are available in:

14. 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 topic briefings: (cross-cutting) Work, Study, Family, (single topic) Visas, Admissions, Extensions, Settlement, Citizenship, Asylum, Removals and Voluntary Departures and Detention. Detailed tables of figures accompany each of the single topic briefings, providing data up to the fourth quarter of 2014 (October to December).

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

The Home Office is now seeking feedback by the 14 May 2015 from the users of the Immigration Statistics so that we can assess how well the publication meets our users’ needs and make improvements where possible. We would invite you to complete a consultation questionnaire.

This includes proposals for removing duplication in reporting of monthly asylum figures and withdrawing some data on visa appeals by issuing post.

If you have any comments on these plans please contact us through MigrationStatsEnquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

14.1 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 at UK Statistics Authority Assessment reports.

14.2 Changes to topic briefings and tables

The following changes should be noted for this release.

Removals topic: In our previous quarterly release we highlighted that provisional data matching figures were subject to review, following the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s Inspection of Overstayers (see 2014 Inspection Reports). Home Office Statistics have 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 departure total for 2013 has been revised down by 18% (from 39,282 to 32,178); and the voluntary departure total for Q1 2014 to Q3 2014 has been revised down by 16% (from 23,532 to 19,665). However, these problems of interpretation are not considered to have significantly influenced figures for earlier years.

14.3 Revisions to data

Within the Settlement section, asylum-related settlement data for the second and third quarters 2014 have been updated upwards (in light of additional outcomes identified in the administrative database) from 4,973 and 1,937 to 5,908 and 5,116 respectively.

As described in the Changes to topic briefings and tables section, additional work has taken place to review the provisional data matching decisions. This relates to work the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has undertaken as part of an Inspection of Overstayers (see 2014 Inspection Reports) and Home Office Statistics have worked closely with the data owners to review and revise data. The voluntary departures figures have been revised as follows:

    2013       Q1 to Q3 2014    
  Published November 2014 Published February 2015 Difference Difference Published November 2014 Published February 2015 Difference Difference
Total enforced removals 13,313 13,311 -2 0% 9,247 9,359 112 1%
Total refused entry at port and subsequently departed 14,338 14,396 58 0% 11,474 11,603 129 1%
Total voluntary departures 39,282 32,178 -7,104 -18% 23,532 19,665 -3,867 -16%
Assisted Voluntary Returns 4,298 4,297 -1 0% 2,031 2,020 -11 -1%
Notified voluntary departures 8,671 8,150 -521 -6% 7,560 7,657 97 1%
Other confirmed voluntary departures 26,313 19,731 -6,582 -25% 13,941 9,988 -3,953 -28%

14.4 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 Statistics 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 through the MIGRATION-STATS File Area.

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

Copies of the presentations made at the last annual conference of the Forum, held on 16 September 2014, are available at the Royal Statistical Society.

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

14.5 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.

14.6 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
Home Office Statistics
17th Floor Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road
Croydon
CR9 2BY

Press enquiries should be made to:

Home Office Press Office
Peel Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF
Tel: 020 7035 3535

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

The Home Office Statistics mission statement is:

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

15. 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.

15.1 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’, ONS, 2012 (171.1 Kb Pdf). 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 topic 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 and 2014 are provisional.

Figures for admissions and immigration are estimates rounded to the nearest thousand. For the family topic, figures for non-EU immigration estimated by the IPS are rounded to the nearest thousand.

Figures for immigration in the study and family topics 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.

15.2 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 and 2014 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.

15.3 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.

15.4 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 and 2014 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 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.

15.5 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 2013 and 2014 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–June 2013 release to provide further detailed information.

15.6 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 and 2014 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 topic.

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.

15.7 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.

15.8 Detention

Children are those recorded as being under 18 years of age. All data for 2013 and 2014 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.

15.9 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.

In our previous quarterly release we highlighted that provisional data matching figures were subject to review, following the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s Inspection of Overstayers (see 2014 Inspection Reports). Home Office Statistics have 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 departure total for 2013 has been revised down by 18% (from 39,282 to 32,178); and the voluntary departure total for Q1 2014 to Q3 2014 has been revised down by 16% (from 23,532 to 19,665). However, these problems of interpretation are not considered to have significantly influenced figures for earlier years.

All data include dependants, unless otherwise stated, and are provisional for 2013 and 2014.