Net Migration Statistics

  • According to the latest estimates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration from overseas to the UK in the year ending December 2019 totalled 270,000. This is higher than the annual average of 256,000 during the past decade and the annual average of 239,000 during the past 20 years.
  • The level of non-British net migration into the UK is at its highest level – 331,000 – since 2016.
  • Net migration to the UK from outside the EU has risen significantly since 2013 (when it was 109,000) to its highest level ever– 282,000. Gross inflow from outside the EU is also at the highest level ever seen (404,000). Non-EU emigration has fallen slightly since 2012 when it was 23,000 higher.
  • Net migration to the UK from the EU has fallen, from 219,000 in the year to March 2015, to 49,000 in the most recent year. The largest fall has been in the net arrival of citizens from the EU8 countries (Poland, Hungary, etc), of whom 86,000 people came in the year to March 2015, but of whom there was net emigration of 12,000 people during 2019 (the year or so leading up to Brexit).
  • There was a net departure of 60,000 British citizens to other countries in 2019.
  • If you are interested in finding out more about net migration to the UK, you can create your own graph of net migration by citizenship such as UK, EU, non-EU. Click here to create your own graph.

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

Migration by Citizenship

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

All Citizenships British Non-British EU Non-EU
Immigration 677,000 77,000 600,000 196,000 404,000
Emigration 407,000 138,000 269,000 147,000 122,000
Net Migration 270,000 -60,000 331,000 49,000 282,000

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.

Create your own graph of immigration, emigration and net migration for a particular citizenship grouping. The data covers from 1991 to the latest figures (data starts at 2004 for EU8 and 2007 for EU2):

Select Citizenship:


Create your own graph which compares migration of different citizenship groupings. The data covers 1991 to the latest figures (data starts at 2004 for EU8 and 2007 for EU2):

Select Up To 3 Citizenships

Select Immigration, Emigration Or Net Migration:

Citizenship groupings

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

Further Information

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).

Next Statistics Release

The next statistics will be published on Thursday 27 August 2020.

Check back here for an update.

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