On 28 November 2013, the Office for National Statistics published its Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.

What the figures show about migration over time

The Report shows the latest available figures from the following sources:

  • provisional long-term international migration figures for the year ending June 2013;
  • final long-term international migration figures for 2012;
  • entry clearance visas issued by the Home Office up to September 2013;
  • national insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals up to September 2013; and
  • labour market statistics on employment by nationality and country of birth, July to September 2013.

The latest long-term international migration estimates (which were rounded) for the year ending June 2013 show that:

  • 503,000 people immigrated to the UK; 
  • 320,000 people emigrated from the UK; and 
  • net migration was 182,000.

To visualise the long-term international migration to and from the UK between 1964 and 2012, please click here for a graph.

Key findings

Particular key findings in the Report include:

Migration for work-related reasons

The most commonly stated reasons for immigrating to the UK are work-related, which has been the case historically, with the exception of 2009 to 2012, when study was the most common main reason for immigration.

Since 2007, around half of immigrants arriving for work have been EU citizens and 25 to 30% have been non-EU citizens.

immigration for work peaked in the years 2005 to 2007 at around 240,000, but has since declined reaching a low of 173,000.

Migration for study-related reasons

67,000 emigrants had previously migrated to study in the UK, and, of these, 85% had immigrated since 2008 and 73% were non-EU nationals.

There were 216,895 visas issued for the purposes of study (excluding student visitors) in the year ending September 2013, a rise of 3%; however, this figure is 32% lower when compared with the peak in the year ending June 2010 (320,183).

The recent decline in people arriving to study has been in the non-university sectors and predominantly from citizens of New Commonwealth countries. International Passport Surevey has estimated that over 100,000 New Commonwealth citizens immigrated to the UK to study in 2010/11, which has more than halved to 41,000 in the year ending June 2013, its lowest level since 2005/06.

Migration for other reasons

A quarter of people immigrated to the UK and a third emigrated from the UK for reasons other than work or study in the year ending June 2013, e.g. to accompany or join family or friends, claim asylum, and return home to live.

16,000 emigrants previously migrated to the UK for family reasons; this is only 8% of all former immigrants who emigrated from the UK in 2012. There has been a decrease of 20% in the number of migrant immigration for family reasons, compared with the year ending September 2012 (42,146) and is the lowest number of family route visas issued since comparable records began in 2005.