Net migration to UK down, but still near record levels

15 Sep 2016 | Posted by Carl Thomas
Net migration to the UK is slightly down on last year, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The data, for the year to March, shows than net migration was around 327,000. The largest number of overseas residents were Poles, who do not need a UK visa because of EU freedom of movement rules.
Polish nationals living in the UK numbered around 831,000 and have overtaken India – where migrants do require a UK visa – and the Republic of Ireland, as the countries where most foreign-born people living in the UK were born.
The number of migrants coming to the UK from Poland is slowing, according to the figures, but the number of people coming to the UK from Romania and Bulgaria reached a record high of 60,000 in 2015.
ONS Head of International Migration Statistics, Nicola White, said: "Net migration remains at record levels although the recent trend is broadly flat.
"The influx of Romanians and Bulgarians has also reached a new high, although that's off-set by falls in non-EU immigration and from other central and eastern European countries.
"Work remains the main reason for migration, followed by study which has seen a significant fall in the number of people coming to the UK for education.”
The ONS estimated that 13.3 per cent of the UK’s usual population was born overseas, compared to just under nine per cent in 2004. London has the biggest percentage of non-British born residents, which stood at 37 per cent.
The report also showed that an increasing number of women born outside the UK are now giving birth in Britain. A quarter of births in England and Wales in 2015 were to mothers who were not born in Britain.