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February 28, 2020

Migration into UK from outside EU hits record level

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P
Pa
February 28, 2020

LONDON: The number of people moving to the UK long-term from non-EU countries is at its highest level on record, according to the latest estimates.

In the year to September, immigration from non-EU countries hit 379,000 — the highest it has ever been since records began in 1975 when it was 93,000.

Net migration from outside the EU — the balance between the number of people entering and leaving the country — is also at its highest level (250,000) since 2004 when it peaked at 265,000, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

Meanwhile, EU net migration stood at 64,000, slightly higher but broadly similar to the 57,000 recorded a year earlier.

Jay Lindop, director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS, said EU net migration has fallen while non-EU net migration has gradually increased since 2013, adding Immigration for study has gone up and is now the main reason for migration.

“This is driven by more non-EU students arriving, specifically Chinese and Indian. Since 2016, immigration for work has decreased because of fewer EU citizens arriving for a job.”

Most non-EU migrants (51 per cent, 165,000) were international students and just an estimated 27 per cent (88,000) who were moving to the UK long-term said they were coming for work, the figures suggested. Around 15 per cent (50,000) moved to the country for family reasons, including those accompanying someone on a work or study visa. The findings prompted questions from immigration experts about the government’s plans for a points-based system which will come into force after freedom of movement ends. The changes are designed to cut the number of low-skilled migrants entering Britain from the beginning of next year but aim to make it easier for higher-skilled workers to get UK visas, regardless of which countries applicants are coming from. Overall net migration in the year to September stood at 240,000, broadly similar than the 247,000 recorded a year earlier. Home Office minister Kevin Foster said: “These figures show the importance of taking back control of our borders. Our new points-based immigration system will bring overall migration numbers down, while ensuring we continue to welcome the brightest and the best from around the globe...”