The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the latest Migration Statistics Quarterly Report. The report shows that net migration is now at its lowest level for a decade, falling from 242,000 in the year to September 2011 to 153,000 in the year to September 2012.

The ONS has suggested that this has been driven, in the most recent period, by a decline in the number of people coming to the UK. There was a 5% increase in sponsored student visa applications for the university sector as well as a 5% increase in visas issued to skilled workers. Other significant figures include:

  • 10% increase in study visas issued for Chinese nationals in the year to March 2013
  • 6% increase in student visitor visas in the year to March 2013;  
  • fall in overall number of visas (excluding visitors and transit) by 6% in year ending March 2013, the lowest 12 month total for which comparable data is available.

A closer examination of the figures has revealed that the number of sponsored student visas issued via FE and English language colleges fell by 46%. This decline should cause the university sector concern as a substantial number of university international students come via the UK FE sector.

To read the full report click here.