Perhaps, most of the applicants are quite interested in knowing the details of UK visa and immigration statistics. Therefore, the post provides the UK visa statistics, success and refusal rates for entry clearance, leave to remain, extension and ILR (settlement) applications from 2008 to 2018.

UK Visa Statistics 2008-18

According to the Official Statistics as many as more than 30.25 million (i.e. 30,253,870) Entry Clearance Applications were made from outside the UK during 2008-2018. And 145,737 and 25,188 entry clearance applications were withdrawn or lapsed. During the period 30.28 m (i.e. 30,282,225) applications decided, 26.104m (i.e. 26,104,387) visas granted and more than 4 m (i.e. 4,006,913) applications refused.

UK Visa Refusal Rate

During 2008-18, the overall UK visa success and refusal rate for all types of entry clearance visa applications was 86.20% and 13.23%, respectively.

Entry Clearance

Perhaps, contrary to the general perception, the number of UK entry clearance applications and success rate is showing an upward in recent years. Accordingly, the most number of 3.29 m and 3.06 m applications were made in 2018 and 2017, which is nearly 19.67% and 11.30% higher than the average 2.75 m applications per year during the 2008-18 period. Moreover, the UK visa success rate success rate during 2017 and 2018 was 88.74% and 88.20%, which is more than 2% higher than the period average of 86.20%.

In recent years the UK visa refusal rate is less than 12%

According to UK visa entry clearance statistics, the UK visa refusal rate during 2017 and 2018 was 10.95% and 11.54%, respectively, which is substantially lower than the period average of 13.23%.

UK Entry Clearance Visa Statistics 2008-18
Year Decisions Refusal Rate
2008 2,402,475 17.84%
2009 2,449,587 17.48%
2010 2,553,749 14.86%
2011 2,616,350 12.26%
2012 2,569,695 12.67%
2013 2,840,792 11.68%
2014 2,770,896 11.13%
2015 2,849,880 13.06%
2016 2,883,431 13.79%
2017 3,051,304 10.95%
2018 3,294,066 11.54%

Leave to remain

During 2008-18, a total of 3.47 m (i.e. 3,478,048) leave to remain and extension applications were decided. Accordingly, during the period 2.99 m (i.e. 2,990,092) leave to remain and extensions granted and more than 0.48 m (i.e. 487,956) applications refused. Therefore, the overall leave to remain and extension success and refusal rate from inside the UK was 85.97% and 16.32%, respectively.

Apparently, the extension grants were highest in 2008 (362,859) and the average for the period 2008-18 is 316,186 per year. However, since 2010, only in 2013 the total extension grants came near to this average. Therefore, during 2008-18, leave to remain and extension grants experienced an overall declining trend.

In 2013, a total of 306,598 extensions were granted with a success rate of 77.70%. Afterwards, in 2014, the number of extension grants reduced quite dramatically to reach a level of 236,740. However, the success rate (81.53%) slightly improved in 2014. Moreover, the extension grants continued a downward trend in the next couple of years to reach the lowest ebb (199,256) in 2016.

A resurgence in UK visa extension applications success rate

However, during 2017 and 2018, there has been an increase in the number of extension grants. Accordingly, the number of extension grants increased to 213,555 and 250,421 in 2017 and 2018 with a success rate of 91.70% and 91.23%, respectively. Apparently, during the 2008-18 period, the average yearly success rate was 85.97%, which was highest in 2008 (93.25%) and lowest in 2013 (77.70%). Therefore, the UK visa extension success rate during 2017 and 2018 is higher than the period average of 85.97%, which is good news for prospective applicants. Furthermore, the UK visa refusal rate in 2017 and 2018 was 8.30% and 8.77%, respectively, which is nearly half of the period average of 16.32%.

Leave to Remain Statistics 2008-18
Year Decisions Refusal Rate
2008 389,145 6.75%
2009 393,854 15.20%
2010 371,868 16.78%
2011 347,637 13.82%
2012 291,827 10.29%
2013 394,592 22.30%
2014 290,377 18.47%
2015 262,470 17.78%
2016 228,914 12.96%
2017 232,884 8.30%
2018 274,480 8.77%

ILR Grants

In fact, during 2008-18, the Home Office decided a total of 1.52 m ILR applications under the four broad categories i.e.

  1. Work
  2. Asylum
  3. Family Formation and Reunion (Spouse and Dependants)
  4. Other

Accordingly, during the period, the Home Office granted 1.44 m (i.e.1,447,513) Indefinite leave to remain (ILR). And refused more than 75,079 ILR applications. Therefore, the overall ILR success and refusal rate was 95.07% and 5.19%, respectively.

The UK settlement visa statistics reveals that the Home Office granted the highest number of ILR in 2010 (241,192). However, the period average is 131,592 ILR grants per year. In fact, since 2011, only in 2013 the total ILR grants (154,701) were higher than the period average of 131,592. Therefore, during 2008-18, ILR grants experienced an overall declining trend.

ILR Grants 2008-18

According to UK settlement visa statistics, during 2008-18, the most number of grants, nearly 38.8% (561,535) of the total grants, made under the work category. Moreover, the number of family formation and reunion related ILR grants account for 435,681, with a share of 30.1%. The number of asylum-related ILR grants accounts for 151,699, with a share of 10.5% in total grants. Perhaps, all the residual ILR grants, which do not fit into the preceding 3 categories are lumped in “other” category. Moreover, the UK settlement visa statistics do not provide further details of the “other” category, apart from the fact that 298,598 ILR grants made under the “other” category, which constitutes 20.6% of the total ILR grants.

Apparently, the UK settlement visa statistics reveals that the total ILR grants after reaching a level of 241,192, kept a downward trajectory. However, after reaching the lowest ebb (60,670) in 2016 slightly increased to 65,102 in 2017. And in 2018 ILR grants significantly increased to reach a level of 90,608. The decreasing trend of the ILR grants is mainly due to an astonishing fall in the work and family-related grants.

A significant decrease in work and family grants

Perhaps, due to restriction on immigration routes, the work-related grants decreased from 84,347 in 2010 to merely 18,104 in 2017. However, in 2018 the work-related ILR grants slightly increased to 23,913. Similarly, family-related grants decreased from 72,239 in 2009 to its lowest ebb of 5,420 in 2017. However, according to UK settlement visa statistics, in 2018 the family-related grants increased considerably to reach a level of 15,751.

A substantial increase in asylum grants

However, quite surprisingly the number of asylum-related ILR grants indicates an upward trend during the 2008-18 period. Apparently, in 2008 the number of asylum-related ILR grants was only 2,824, which increased quite significantly to reach its zenith of 25,243 in 2018.

ILR Grants under 4 Broad Routes 2008-18
Year Work Asylum Family Other
2008 60,768 2,824 55,348 29,996
2009 81,185 3,110 72,239 38,247
2010 84,347 4,931 69,228 82,686
2011 69,892 13,003 54,086 29,897
2012 62,195 11,434 47,374 8,746
2013 59,288 21,274 59,654 14,485
2014 38,712 17,801 32,846 14,698
2015 39,791 18,895 16,808 15,345
2016 23,340 14,454 6,927 15,949
2017 18,104 18,730 5,420 22,848
2018 23,913 25,243 15,751 25,701

Work-related ILR Grants

Perhaps, due to restriction on immigration routes, the work-related grants decreased from 84,347 in 2010 to merely 18,104 in 2017. However, in 2018 the work-related ILR grants slightly increased to 23,913.

ILR Work Related Grants
Year Total Main Dep
2008 60,768 27,428 33,340
2009 81,185 34,274 46,911
2010 84,347 37,464 46,883
2011 69,892 33,603 36,289
2012 62,195 31,476 30,719
2013 59,288 32,056 27,232
2014 38,712 21,788 16,924
2015 39,791 22,881 16,910
2016 23,340 14,286 9,054
2017 18,104 11,502 6,602
2018 23,913 14,387 9,526

 During 2008-18, the Home Office granted a total of 561,535 work-related grants in the following categories:

  1. Employment with a work permit – 241,807
  2. Tier 1 High-Value Migrants – 144,638
  3. PBS Tier 2 Sponsored with a job – 100,803
  4. Tier 5 Temporary workers and Youth Mobility – 61
  5. Permit-free employment, businessman, persons of independent means – 45,826
  6. Commonwealth citizens with a UK-born grandparent – 28,400
PBS Worked Related ILR
Year Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 5
2008 8 0 0
2009 3,829 1,022 0
2010 8,213 6,676 1
2011 19,009 9,298 1
2012 27,586 9,040 3
2013 27,733 10,321 5
2014 20,479 11,163 3
2015 18,818 16,434 12
2016 10,657 9,344 19
2017 3,753 10,848 9
2018 4,553 16,657 8
Non-PBS Work Visa ILR Grants 
Year Work Permit Permit-Free CWCs
2008 53,846 3,855 3,059
2009 62,235 11,157 2,942
2010 54,718 11,782 2,957
2011 33,311 4,872 3,401
2012 20,071 2,518 2,977
2013 13,947 3,135 4,147
2014 2,637 2,068 2,362
2015 421 2,374 1,732
2016 193 1,552 1,575
2017 248 1,756 1,490
2018 180 757 1,758

ILR Success Rate

Apparently, the ILR average success rate for the 2008-18 period was 95.07%. However, it has oscillated within a narrow band during the period. Accordingly, in 2013 the ILR success rate was the highest (96.94%) and lowest (91.89%) in 2016. Afterwards, in 2017 and 2018 the ILR success rate has slightly improved to reach a level of 94.65% and 95.69%, respectively. Certainly, this is good news for prospective ILR applicants.

Furthermore, during 2008-18, the average ILR refusal rate is 5.19%. Perhaps, in 2016 the ILR refusal rate shot to 8.11%. However, subsequently in 2018 came down to 4.31%, which is less than the period average of 5.19%.

Year Decisions ILR Acceptance Rate
2008 158,278 94.10%
2009 207,341 93.94%
2010 252,326 95.59%
2011 174,933 95.40%
2012 133,850 96.94%
2013 161,375 95.86%
2014 109,072 95.40%
2015 95,922 94.70%
2016 66,024 91.89%
2017 68,781 94.65%
2018 94,690 95.69%

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