This release presents the latest immigration statistics from Home Office administrative sources, covering January to March 2012 and provides figures for the whole of 2011, where available, together with detailed tables for the calendar year 2010 and earlier data.
Summary points, Quarter 1 2012
Valid: 24 May to 30 August 2012
Interpreting the figures
This release includes new data for the first quarter of 2012 and provisional annual data for 2011.
Topics covered are:
- before entry
- removals and voluntary departures
- European Economic Area
The trends reflect changes in levels of immigration, policy and legislative changes, including changes to the Immigration Rules, and world events, as well as the availability and allocation of resources within the UK Border Agency.
Work, study and family
For those who are subject to immigration control (non-EEA nationals) the latest data for visas granted showed falls for study (-21%), work (-8%) and family reasons (-16%), to the lowest 12 monthly total recorded using comparable data available from 2005. Recent falls for work and study are likely to be partly due to policy changes for these routes which came into effect from 2011.
Excluding visitor and transit visas, 13% fewer visas were issued in the year ending March 2012 (529,000) than the previous 12 months (609,000). By contrast, the number of visitor visas issued continued to rise, to a record 1.7 million, 9% higher than the previous 12 months (1.6 million).
There were 10% fewer non-asylum passengers initially refused entry at ports in the year ending March 2012 (16,382), compared with the previous 12 months (18,120), continuing the calendar year on year falls from 38,391 in 2004.
The number of passenger journeys to the UK rose 4% in the year ending March 2012 (106.2 million) compared with the previous 12 months (102.2 million), comprising 3.5 million more journeys (%2B4%) by British, other EEA and Swiss nationals, and 0.5 million more journeys (+4%) by non-EEA nationals. The 4% increase is likely, in part, to reflect lower passenger arrivals during April 2010 because of airport closures due to a volcanic ash cloud.
There were 276,600 grants of an extension of stay in the year ending March 2012, 10% lower than the previous 12 months (308,100), largely due to a 28% fall in grants of extensions in the study category, which were partially offset by an increase in the work category. The latest total continued the fall from the previous two years (330,700 and 366,600 in the years ending March 2010 and March 2009 respectively).
The number of people granted settlement in the year ending March 2012 fell by a third (-35%) to 148,144, compared with the previous 12 months (226,478). Most of the fall was due to 68,144 fewer grants on a discretionary or other basis which in recent years were mainly granted following a review of asylum applications made before March 2007. The large fall is associated with the completion of the review of these cases. There were also falls in the work (-6%) and the family (-19%) categories.
There were 175,298 grants of British citizenship in the year ending March 2012, 10% fewer than in the previous year (195,369), mainly due to 10,979 fewer grants based on marriage (-24%) and 8,163 fewer grants to children related to British citizens (-17%).
There were 4,818 asylum applications during the first quarter of 2012, 1% lower than the first quarter of 2011 (4,844). Pakistan (706) and Iran (575) had the most asylum applications in Q1 2012. However, this followed asylum increases for each quarter in 2011 compared with the same quarter in 2010. Applications were 11% higher in 2011 at 19,804 than in 2010 (17,916), mainly due to an increase in applications from nationals of Pakistan, Libya and Iran.
During the first quarter of 2012, 7,516 people entered immigration detention, 7% more than in the first quarter of 2011 (7,015). Of these 7,516, 53 were recorded as being under 18 (children), which compares with 10 in the first quarter of 2011. Of the 53 children, 35 were children held at the new Cedars pre-departure accommodation, which is specifically designed for children and their families, 12 were border cases detained at Tinsley House, the remaining 6 were age dispute cases detained at Campsfield House, Colnbrook Short Term and Morton Hall. There was one child in detention as at 31 March 2012.
Removals and voluntary departures
There were 13,386 people (including port removals) who left forcibly or voluntarily during the first quarter of 2012. This was 6% less than the first quarter of 2011 (14,224) and a 26% fall compared with the last peak in the third quarter of 2008 (18,078) - the highest quarterly figure since the publication of data began in the first quarter of 2001.
The 6% fall was mostly accounted for by fewer non-asylum cases refused entry at port and subsequently removed (3,095 in Q1 2012 compared with 3,822 in Q1 2011). Excluding port removals, the number of enforced removals and voluntary departures during the first quarter of 2012 (10,291) was at a similar level of departures recorded during the first quarter of 2011 (10,402).
Headline statistics: latest 12 months
The table shows the headline numbers for the latest available 12 months, and the percentage change compared with the previous 12 months.
||Year ending March 2012
||Year ending March 2011
|Before entry visitor visas issued
|Extensions - grants
|Settlement - grants
|Citizenship - grants
Headline statistics – quarterly data
The table shows the headline numbers for the latest quarter, and the percentage change compared with the same quarter 1 year previous.
||January to March 2012
||January to March 2011
|Asylum applications (1)
|Total removals and voluntary departures (2)