The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its Migration Statistics Quarterly Report for net migration statistics for the year ending September 2013. The report found that net UK migration increased to 212,000 in the year to September 2013. Although the Home Office has published that this figure is 70,000 less than it was in 2010, the current figure is still not at the Government’s target of less than 100,000.

The two most common reasons for migration to the UK include work and study while the third most common reason is to accompany or join family. This therefore brings into further question whether or not students should be included in the net migration figures.

In terms of immigration to the UK, 60,000 more EU citizens (a total of 209,000) immigrated to the UK than in the previous year.  Of these EU citizens, 40,000 more arrived for work than in the previous year. The Home Office stated that “two-thirds of these migrants are coming to the UK with a definite job offer”.  As a result, the highest increases in National Insurance number registrations were for citizens of Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

The numbers of non-EU citizens immigrating to the UK fell by 25,000 from the previous year. This is in part due to fewer New Commonwealth citizens migrating to the UK, including the fact that the number of overseas students from India has fallen by 21% and from Pakistan by 55%. Further, there was a drastic fall in the number of family visas granted (down by over 7,000).  However, in 2013, there were increases in grants of work visas (up by just under 10,000) and of study visas (up by just over 9,000 with increased applications for the university sector, particular from China and Brazil).

The most common reasons for emigration from the UK are work-related reasons and returning home. In the year ending September 2013, 320,000 emigrants left the UK - 23,000 fewer than in the year ending September 2012. Of this number, 12,000 fewer British citizens (33% lower than its peak in 2007), 6,000 fewer EU citizens, and 5,000 fewer non-EU citizens emigrated. More than half (59%) of British citizens emigrating did so for work-related reasons in the year ending September 2013. Of these, 22,000 were intending to look for work, a statistically significant increase on 15,000 the previous year.