August 27, 2015

UK migration higher than ever, new statistics show

Net migration to the UK to is at an all-time high, despite government efforts to limit the number of people entering the country, according to official figures.

The latest migration report from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that net long-term migration for the year ending March 2015 was 300,000, an increase of 94,000 since the previous year.

The figures show that the number of people migrating to the UK increased by 84,000 over the period compared to the previous year, whereas the number of people emigrating decreased by 9,000.

The ONS noted a statistically significant increase in net migration from other EU countries, which stood at 183,000 (an increase of 53,000 on the previous year). This is partly accounted for by 53,000 immigrants from the new EU member states Romania and Bulgaria, almost double the figure of the previous year. Net migration outside of the EU also increased, but this was mainly due to a decrease in emigration from the UK.

The UK government has previously committed to cutting net migration to the “tens of thousands”. Later this year it will announce an immigration bill which will introduce new powers to tackle illegal immigration and an English-language requirement for public-sector workers, among other measures.

The government’s immigration policy has been criticised by the professional body the Institute of Directors and the think tank British Future, who claim political efforts to cut immigration is “punishing business”, and are calling for a “comprehensive immigration review”.

IZA World of Labor has published a series of articles on issues surrounding migration. Our editor-in-chief Klaus F. Zimmermann has written about circular migration, arguing that migration is typically temporary and benefits both sending and receiving countries. He writes that: “Free labor mobility is more likely to generate benefits for all sides. Supportive policy instruments include dual citizenship, permanent residence permits, and open migration agreements between countries.”

Read more on this story at BBC News. The latest ONS migration report can be found here.

Related articles:
Circular migration by Klaus F. Zimmermann
Freedom of movement for workers by John Kennan
Do migrants take the jobs of native workers? by Amelie F. Constant
Do immigrant workers depress the wages of native workers? by Giovanni Peri

Find more IZA World of Labor articles on migration here