Net Migration Hits Record High – Why is This?


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that net migration in the UK has reached 336,000 in June this year – a record high. This comes despite the government's pledge at the general election in May to reduce net migration to below 100,000, a figure that was last seen 18 years ago in 1997.

Net Migration

Factors Influencing the Increase

The ONS November 2015 Migration Statistics Quartlerly Report found that in the year ending June 2015, net migration had risen by 82,000 to 336,000.This includes EU and non-EU migration. Key points from the report include:

  • The main reason for migration is to work – of the 636,000 people that moved into the UK, 46% moved due to work
  • 551,000 of the 636,000 people were non-British citizens
  • For non-British net migration, EU citizens account for less than half of this figure
  • Asylum applications were up by 19% to 29,000, but remain far lower than the 82,000 applications made in 2002
  • Asylum is the smallest contributor to net migration, behind family unification, study and work.
The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford believe the increase is driven by high employment levels and economic growth, as opposed to government policy.

An Immigration Law Specialist's View

Emma Brooksbank, Associate and Head of Immigration at law firm Simpson Millar, said:

"It's unsurprising that the vast majority of people driving these figures are workers. We must remember that migration is a vital contributor to a thriving economy. The government at present is working to make it harder for international students to stay on and work after their studies – this will only succeed in driving talented professionals that would benefit our economy to other countries."

The Immigration Law team at Simpson Millar offer nationwide advice on all aspects of immigration applications and appeals, and are well up to date with the frequently changing rules.

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