Experimental Official Research: Net Migration In Year To June 2020 Was 247,000


Current Affairs, European Union, Legal Matters, Migration Advisory Committee, Migration Trends, Office for National Statistics

  • According to new provisional estimates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration from overseas to the UK in the year ending June 2020 was just over 247,000.
  • Total long-term immigration by all citizenships was estimated at 622,000 and total emigration was estimated at 375,000.
  • This would be about 40,000 higher than the net migration estimate for the previous year (to June 2019) of 206,000 (which, it should be stated, was produced using a different method).
  • Acute uncertainty pervades the official measurement of immigration for a number of reasons. The abrupt cessation of the use of the tried-and-tested (albeit far-from-perfect) International Passenger Survey (IPS) for measuring immigration means that the latest estimates are based upon ‘experimental’ research derived from administrative data. Secondly, these figures cover the period including after the onset of the Covid pandemic (from late March 2020) when travel patterns would have been severely disrupted. Read more about the methodology by which these estimates were derived here, and plans for further changes here.
  • While these are not classified as Official Statistics (see the ONS disclaimer reproduced at the bottom of this page), they are the most up to date estimates of migration published by the government.

Migration statistics can be used to estimate the flow of migrants in and out of the UK and to estimate the number of migrants living in the UK (the stock). One estimate of the flow of migrants is the United Nations definition of a migrant; someone who moves to another country for at least 12 months.

Until last August, the Office for National Statistics produced estimates of international migration based on the International Passenger Survey, a survey of passengers arriving and departing the UK. Someone arriving in the UK intending to stay for 12 months or more was treated as an immigrant and someone departing the UK intending to be away for 12 months or more was treated as an emigrant. These migration figures were also adjusted to include asylum seekers. Net migration is the number of immigrants minus the number of emigrants.

The figures reported in this piece are based upon a new ‘experimental’ method that the ONS is trialling (based upon administrative data coupled with modelling by statisticians).

Next Statistics Release

A set of net migration estimates (based upon the experimental new method based upon administrative data) are planned for early 2022 – covering the period up to April 2021. Check back here for an update.

19th May 2021

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