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.
The Office for National Statistics produce estimates of international migration based on the International Passenger Survey, a survey of passengers arriving and departing the UK. Someone arriving to the UK intending to stay for 12 months or more is an immigrant and someone departing the UK for 12 months or more is an emigrant. The migration figures are also adjusted to include asylum seekers. Net migration is the number of immigrants minus the number of emigrants.
The headline net migration figure for the UK is updated quarterly. The latest estimate released is that total net migration to the UK in the year ending December 2019 was 270,000.
The graph below shows how current levels of net migration compare to previous years levels.
Figure 1: Net migration from overseas to the UK, 1975-2019
5. The International Passenger Survey records the nationality of those interviewed so estimates of migration by citizenship can be produced. Table 1 below shows a breakdown of the latest figures.
More British citizens leave the country than arrive. EU net migration is currently 49,000 compared to 282,000 from outside the EU.
Table 1: Latest migration estimates, year ending December 2019
Further breakdown of the data gives estimates for Western Europe (EU14), Eastern Europe (EU8) and the EU2 – Romania and Bulgaria, as well as more detail for non-EU migration. The level of migration from various regions has changed over time.
The EU14 grouping includes citizens of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
The EU8 grouping includes citizens of Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The EU2 grouping includes citizens of Bulgaria and Romania
The ONS produce extensive material on the methodology and accuracy of their Long Term International Migration estimates, including a user guide that covers frequently asked questions (see here).
The next statistics will be published on Thursday 27 August 2020.
Check back here for an update.