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1. How many people come to the UK each year?
There were 139.2 million passenger arrivals in the year ending June 2018, including returning UK residents, an increase of 4.7 million compared to the previous year and a record number. This increase was divided between:
- 1.2 million more arrivals by British, other EEA and Swiss nationals (up 1% to 117.9 million)
- 3.5 million more by non-EEA nationals (up 19% to 21.3 million)
The majority of non-EEA nationals do not require a visa to visit or transit the UK; however they do require a visa to come for other reasons. There were over 2.8 million visas granted in the year ending June 2018, of these, just over 2.1 million (77%) were to visit and 8% were for study.
2. Why do people come to the UK?
In the calendar year 2017 (latest available data by purpose of journey), the number of non-EEA visitor arrivals increased by 3.1 million (30%) to 13.2 million compared to the previous year. This was the highest number of arrivals on record. There have been year-on-year increases in the number of Visitor arrivals since 2012.
There were 2.8 million entry clearance visas granted in the year ending June 2018 and, of these, 2.1 million (77%) were to visit.
The number of Visitor visas granted increased by 5% compared with the previous year. There were notable increases in Visitor visas granted to:
- Indian nationals, up 40,337 (+10%) to 454,658
- Pakistani nationals, up 14,762 (+31%) to 62,987
- South African nationals, up 10,835 (+13%) to 93,096
- Nigerian nationals, up 10,709 (+20%) to 63,825
Chinese (529,327, down 1%) and Indian nationals alone accounted for just under half (46%) of all Visit visas granted.
There were 167,271 work-related visas granted in the year ending June 2018, 2% higher than the previous year. This included:
- 5,502 Tier 1 (High-value) visas, up 17%
- 96,376 Tier 2 (Skilled) visas, up 4%
- 40,360 Tier 5 (Youth mobility and temporary worker), down 3%
In the year ending June 2018, there were 224,097 Tier 4 (sponsored study) visas granted, a 5% increase on the previous year.
There were notable increases in the number of Tier 4 (sponsored study) visas granted to Chinese nationals (up 9% to 89,304) and Indian nationals (up 32% to 15,392) nationals. Chinese nationals account for 40% of all Tier 4 visas granted.
Over the same period, the number of sponsored study visa applications for Higher Education Institutions rose 7% to 182,199.
There were 141,416 visas granted for family reasons in the year ending June 2018, 9% more than in the previous year. This included:
- 43,228 family-related visas, up 18%
- 68,726 dependants of people coming to the UK on other visas (excluding Visitor visas), up 7%
- 29,462 EEA Family permits, no change from the previous year
For further details see ʻWhy do people come to the UK? (4) For family reasons’ and the data tables.
3. How many people do we grant asylum or protection to?
The number of asylum applications in the UK from main applicants was 27,044 in the year ending June 2018 (down 1%). This represents a return to levels seen before the European migration crisis in 2015. Over the same period, there have been wider falls in asylum applications to other EU countries (down 32%).
In the year ending June 2018, the UK issued 14,308 grants of asylum, alternative forms of protection and resettlement, down 12% compared with 16,215 in the previous year. This comprised:
- 6,568 grants of asylum to main applicants and dependants (1,618 lower than previous year, or down 20%)
- 2,038 grants of alternative forms of protection to main applicants and their dependants (870 higher than the previous year, or up 74%)
- 5,702 people provided with protection under various resettlement schemes (1,159 lower than the previous year, or down 17%)
The large increase in applicants granted alternative forms of protection was primarily driven by a large increase in Libyan nationals granted humanitarian protection in the last year (682, up from 36).
Of the 14,308 people granted asylum, protection and resettlement, 6,068 (42%) were children (under 18 years old), an increase of 2% from the previous year.
Additionally, 5,963 Family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK, a 9% increase since last year. Of these, 2,890 (48%) were issued to children.
There were 715 grants of asylum or alternative forms of protection to Syrian nationals (including dependants) at initial decision in the year ending June 2018 (down 35%).
A total of 5,702 people were resettled in the UK in the year ending June 2018 under various schemes. This included 4,316 people who were provided protection under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), bringing the total number of people provided protection to 12,851 since the scheme began in 2014.
For further details see ʻHow many people do we grant asylum or protection to?’ and the data tables.
4. How many people continue their stay in the UK?
In the year ending June 2018, there were 235,152 grants of extension of temporary stay, up 22% on the previous year. The latest available data on previous reason for stay (year ending December 2017) show that:
- 78% of extensions allowed the individual to stay within their previous broad reason for stay category
- 22% of extensions were to switch categories
In the year ending June 2018, 81,359 people were granted settlement in the UK, 40% more than in the previous year. The increase in the latest year followed 4 consecutive year-on-year falls.
There were 95,580 registration certificates and registration cards issued, 14% less than the previous year (111,192). This was due to a fall in those issued to EU nationals, following the large increase after the EU referendum. The number issued to non-EU nationals has continued to grow.
There were 116,323 documents certifying permanent residence and permanent residence cards issued in the year ending June 2018. The majority of these were issued to EU nationals. Following the EU referendum, the number issued to EU nationals increased sharply. However, the latest figure is down from a peak in the year ending December 2017.
Total applications for British citizenship from EU nationals rose by 47% to 42,037. EU nationals now account for 29% of applications, compared with 11% in the year ending June 2016 (before the EU referendum). Applications from non-EU nationals fell by 6% in the most recent year (to 101,649).
5. How many people are detained or returned?
In the year ending June 2018, 26,215 individuals entered the detention estate (down 6% compared with the previous year) and 27,481 left the detention estate (down 1%).
At the end of June 2018, there were 1,905 persons held in the detention estate (excluding HM Prisons), a fall of 36% compared with the same date 12 months earlier. Additionally, 321 individuals were held in immigration detention in HM Prisons.
The total number of enforced returns from the UK, decreased by 13% to 10,892 in the year ending June 2018 compared with 12,509 in the previous year.
Provisional data show that 5,724 Foreign National Offenders (FNOs) were returned in the year ending June 2018, down 8% compared to 6,238 in the previous year; of these:
- just over two thirds (68%) were EU nationals (3,905)
- just under one third (32%) were non-EU nationals (1,819)