Net migration to UK falls significantly – ONS

Net migration to the UK has fallen significantly to 183,000 from 242,000 the previous year, new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

Inward migration to the UK stood at 536,000 people in the year ending March 2012, which is lower than the 578,000 who immigrated the previous year and the lowest immigration figure since 2004.

Some 353,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year ending March 2012, which is higher than the 336,000 who emigrated the previous year.

The fall in net migration has been caused by fewer immigrants and higher numbers of emigrants who have British or non-EU citizenship.

Estimated numbers of non-EU immigrants to the UK fell to 296,000 from 317,000 the previous year. Some 73,000 immigrants were British, compared with 92,000 the previous year.

This reduction in immigration was largely due to fewer people arriving to study, although study continues to be the most common reason stated for immigration to the UK.

Despite this reduction, final figures for 2011 show that there have been significant increases in immigrants from China and Pakistan who arrive to the UK to study.

China became the second most common country of last residence for all immigrants to the UK (India remains as the most common country of last residence).

The increase in emigration is largely due to higher numbers leaving the UK for a definite job. The report shows that 127,000 people emigrated for a definite job in the year ending March 2012, which is significantly higher than 108,000 people who emigrated for a definite job the previous year. Approximately half of those emigrating for a definite job are British.

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