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 March 2019 totalled 226,000 (about double the average level of annual net migration during the period since 1975, which was just over 113,000 per year). See the latest estimates here and the latest Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.
  • The ONS has said the latest estimates are ‘experimental’ following the identification of limitations regarding the main source of the figures – the International Passenger Survey. Here is the ONS’s full briefing on the various adjustments resulting from these findings: ‘Understanding different migration data sources: August 2019 progress report’ (August 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 March 2019 was 226,000.

The graph below shows how current levels of net migration compare to previous years levels.

Figure 1: Annual net migration from overseas to the UK from 1975 until year ending March 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 59,000 compared to 219,000 from outside the EU.

Table 1: Latest migration estimates, year ending March 2019

All Citizenships British Non-British EU Non-EU
Immigration 612,000 79,000 533,000 200,000 333,000
Emigration 385,000 130,000 254,000 141,000 113,000
Net Migration 226,000 -52,000 278,000 59,000 219,000

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 28 November 2019.

Check back here for an update.

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