UK net migration remains unchanged

22 May 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The latest official UK immigration figures have shown that net migration has not changed in the year to December 2013.

The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that net migration held steady at 212,000, the same figure recorded in the previous quarter. However, things did change in relation to EU migration, where an increase of 43,000 was recorded in the net migration figure.

Of the 201,000 EU citizens recorded as coming to the UK as long-term migrants, a total of 125,000 claimed to be moving for work-related reasons. This is a notable increase on the 95,000 who reportedly immigrated for this reason last year.

Immigration minister, James Brokenshire, commented on the data: “While recent net migration levels remain stable, the figures show that it has fallen by a third since its peak in 2005 under the last government and that this government's reforms have cut net migration from outside the EU to levels not seen since the late 1990s.”

He added that the government's efforts are focusing on cutting out abuse of the EU's free movement laws and “addressing the factors that drive European immigration to Britain”.

“The Immigration Act will limit the benefits and services illegal migrants can access and make it easier to remove those with no right to be here, by reducing the number of appeals,” concluded Mr Brokenshire.

While overall figures have remained the same, the ONS data did record some changes, such as a 31 per cent decline in the number of students moving to the UK for higher education purposes. The number of students coming from Commonwealth countries was confirmed to have fallen from 100,000 to 35,000 over the past three years, prompting some concern within the higher education sector about how the UK is perceived.