Migration Statistics Quarterly Report: February 2019


The Office for National Statistics releases the latest official long-term international migration statistics for the UK for the year ending September 2018. 

Key findings:

Net migration continues to add to the population of the UK as an estimated 283,000 more people moved to the UK with an intention to stay 12 months or more than left in the year ending September 2018.

 Over the year, 627,000 people moved to the UK (immigration) and 345,000 people left the UK (emigration)

Our analysis of the available data suggests that net migration, immigration and emigration figures have remained broadly stable overall since the end of 2016

However, there are different patterns for EU and non-EU migration:

Non-EU net migration was the highest since 2004; this follows a gradual increase in immigration of non-EU citizens over the past five years for both work and study
The number of EU citizens coming to the UK continues to add to the population; however, EU net migration has fallen to a level last seen in 2009 due mainly to a decrease in EU immigration
More EU8 citizens, those from the Central and Eastern European countries, left the UK than arrived, as the numbers arriving fell and the numbers leaving increased; this recent pattern for EU8 citizens differs to those from all other EU countries, where we have continued to see more people arriving than leaving

We also see different patterns when exploring reasons for migration:

Immigration to the UK for work has fallen to its lowest level since 2014; this follows a fall in the number of EU citizens arriving to work
The overall number of people arriving in the UK to study has increased, with non-EU student immigration at its highest level since 2011

Statistician’s comment:

“Decisions to migrate are complex and a person’s decision to move to or from the UK will always be influenced by a range of factors, including work, study and family reasons.

“Different patterns for EU and non-EU migration have emerged since mid-2016, when the EU referendum vote took place. Due to increasing numbers arriving for work and study, non-EU net migration is now at the highest level since 2004.

“In contrast, EU net migration, while still adding to the population as a whole, has fallen to a level last seen in 2009. We are also now seeing more EU8 citizens - those from Central and Eastern European countries, for example Poland - leaving the UK than arriving.”

Jay Lindop, deputy director of the Centre for International Migration