Every year, the United Kingdom gathers migration statistics about UK immigration, which it releases to the public. These UK immigration statistics include information about who comes to the UK and why, data about asylum applications and other relevant facts and figures. Today’s blog will therefore provide an overview of the latest UK immigration statistics for the year ending in June 2021.
UK Immigration Statistics 2021
- An examination of the data contained within the official short-term international migration (STIM) statistics, the Citizenship summary tables, and the listing of the immigration data tables reveals the unprecedented, extreme impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on reducing immigration and travel to the England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales (the United Kingdom) throughout 2020-2021.
- From 2020 onward, the United Kingdom, like most other countries around the world, imposed entry and post-arrival restrictions (including pre-flight COVID-19 testing, mandatory self-isolations, and quarantines) and travel bans on arrivals from Red-list countries as part of an attempt to reduce the global transmission of the virus to the UK, which was hit hard by the pandemic.
- Perhaps the most striking UK immigration statistics highlight the reduction in the number of arrivals to the country annually (between 2020 and 2021). In that period, the UK welcomed a record low of 19.6 million people into the country (80% fewer people than were welcomed in the comparative period a year earlier.
- The reduction in arrivals to the country in 2021 correlates with a more than 60% reduction in the number of UK visas granted when compared to a year earlier: just 830,969 in 2021.
- Migration statistics reveal that the majority of the visas issued in 2021 were Student visas. The percentages of visas issued in the year are as follows:
- Student visas (35% of all visas)
- Visitor visas (26% of all visas)
- Work visas (21% of all visas)
- Other (13%)
- Family visas (6% of all visas)
- Of the types of Work visas issued, the majority (60%) were for Skilled Worker visas (the issuing of Skilled Worker visas in fact rose 19% despite the pandemic, reflecting the value of such immigration to the United Kingdom).
- In terms of Student visas, the majority were issued to students from China.
- In terms of asylum, the data reveals that much fewer asylum cases (as well as those for humanitarian and other settlement) were processed in 2020-2021 than in the previous year. Only 10,725 individuals received asylum in the country (a decrease of 37%).
- As a result of the ongoing pandemic, many people who were in the United Kingdom on a non-permanent basis had their stays extended in 2021 (due mainly to their being unable to return to their country of residence as a result of the global disruption to travel). However, even without that category of people, extensions of non-permanent stays rose in the country by 27% in 2021. Additionally, settlement claims rose by 26%, with only 2% of all claims rejected.
- An analysis of citizenship summary tables reveals that citizenship claims rose in 2021 by more than a third, with over 200,177 claims received. The biggest increase by far was observed in EU citizens, who are now seeking UK citizenship in droves—largely due to the fallout from Brexit. Whereas only 12% of citizenship claims to the UK were lodged by EU nationals in 2016, claims by EU citizens in 2021 comprised 37% of all requests for UK citizenship received.
For more information on UK immigration, including for a complete listing of the immigration data tables and the short-term international migration (STIM) statistics, contact us here.