Net migration to UK decreasing, figures show

Net migration is now at its lowest level for a decade, falling from 242,000 in the year to September 2011 to 153,000 in the year to September 2012, latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

The independent Office for National Statistics suggests this has been driven, in the most recent period, by a decline in the number of people coming to the UK.

There was a 5% increase in sponsored student visa applications for the university sector as well as a 5% increase in visas issued to skilled workers.

There was a 10% increase in study visas issued for Chinese nationals in the year to March 2013, and a 6% increase in student visitor visas in the year to March 2013.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics also show a fall in overall number of visas (excluding visitors and transit) by 6% in year ending March 2013, the lowest 12 month total for which comparable data is available.

“The figures show that we have cut out abuse while encouraging the brightest and best migrants who will contribute to economic growth,” Immigration Minister Mark Harper said. “We have made substantial inroads in cutting immigration and now have a more selective system that works in our national interest.”

The minister added that the new Immigration Bill “will reduce the pull factors to this country and make it easier to remove people with no right to be here.”

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