Analysis of UK Visa Statistics & Immigration Trends 2008-2018


The decade spanning 2008-2018 saw significant trends in UK visa applications and their outcomes. Here’s a detailed look at these trends, focusing on the refusal rates and overall application success.

Year (UK Visa Refusal Rate)Observations
2008 (17.84%)Marked a higher refusal rate at the start of the decade.
2009 (17.48%)Continuation of the trend from 2008.
2010 (14.86%)Noticeable decrease in refusal rate.
2011 (12.26%)Further reduction, indicating an improving success rate.
2012 (12.67%)Slight increase but still lower than the early decade.
2013 (11.68%)Continued improvement in visa approval rates.
2014 (11.13%)A year of relatively low refusal rates.
2015 (13.06%)A slight uptick in refusals compared to previous years.
2016 (13.79%)Continued increase in refusal rate.
2017 (10.95%)Significant drop in refusal rate.
2018 (11.54%)Maintained the trend of lower refusal rates than the decade’s average.
UK Visa Refusal Rate Analysis (2008-2018)

Overview of Application Volume and Success Rate (2008-2018):

  • Total Applications: Over 30 million Entry Clearance Visa Applications were submitted from outside the UK.
  • Decisions Made: Of the 30.28 million applications decided, 26.10 million were granted.
  • Success Rate: The overall success rate was 86.20%.
  • Recent Trends: In 2017 and 2018, there was an uptrend in applications, with 3.06 and 3.29 million applications, respectively. These years saw success rates above 88%, higher than the decade’s average.

The data from 2008-2018 reflects a generally positive trend in UK visa applications, with increasing application numbers and higher success rates in recent years. The declining refusal rates, particularly in 2017 and 2018, suggest a more favorable environment for applicants and possible improvements in the efficiency and accessibility of the UK visa application process. It also indicates that applicants might be better prepared and meeting the requirements more effectively.

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    2. Analysis of UK Visa Statistics (2008-2018): LTR Applications


    This section provides an in-depth analysis of the Leave to Remain (LTR) application statistics in the UK between 2008 and 2018, focusing on the annual refusal rates and overall trends.

    Year (Leave to Remain Refusal Rate)Trend Analysis
    2008 (6.75%)Lowest refusal rate, indicating a favorable year for applicants.
    2009 (15.20%)Noticeable increase in refusal rate compared to 2008.
    2010 (16.78%)The peak of refusal rates in the early part of the decade.
    2011 (13.82%)A decline from the previous year, suggesting improved success.
    2012 (10.29%)Continued decrease in refusal rate.
    2013 (22.30%)A significant surge, marking the highest refusal rate of the decade.
    2014 (18.47%)A reduction in refusals but still relatively high.
    2015 (17.78%)Slight decrease in refusal rate from 2014.
    2016 (12.96%)Notable drop, indicating a more favorable trend.
    2017 (8.30%)The lowest refusal rate since 2008, a positive sign for applicants.
    2018 (8.77%)Slight increase from 2017 but still among the lower rates.
    Analysis of UK Visa Statistics (2008-2018): Leave to Remain Applications

    Overview of Leave to Remain Applications (2008-2018):

    • Total LTR Decisions: Around 3.48 million decisions made on leave to remain and extension applications.
    • LTR Grants vs. Refusals: 2.99 million applications granted leave to remain; 488,000 applications refused.
    • Overall LTR Success Rate: 85.97% of applications were successful.
    • Overall LTR Refusal Rate: 16.32%, with fluctuations over the decade.

    The analysis of leave to remain applications from 2008-2018 reveals varied trends, with a general decrease in refusal rates, especially post-2013. This decline might reflect improvements in the application evaluation process or better preparation and understanding of requirements by applicants. The data indicates a more favorable environment in recent years for those seeking leave to remain in the UK, compared to earlier in the period.

    3. Analysis of UK Visa Statistics (2008-2018): ILR Applications


    This section delves into the trends and statistics of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications in the UK over a decade, emphasizing the acceptance rates.

    Year (ILR Acceptance Rate)Observations on Trends
    2008 (94.10%)A strong start to the decade with high acceptance rates.
    2009 (93.94%)Slight increase in ILR refusal rate but still maintaining high approval rates.
    2010 (95.59%)An increase, indicating favorable conditions for applicants.
    2011 (95.40%)Consistent high acceptance rate continuing.
    2012 (96.94%)Peak year with the highest acceptance rate in the decade.
    2013 (95.86%)Slight dip from 2012, but still notably high.
    2014 (95.40%)Maintaining the trend of high approvals.
    2015 (94.70%)Minor decrease in acceptance rate.
    2016 (91.89%)The highest ILR refusal rate in the decade, indicating a tougher year for ILR approvals.
    2017 (94.65%)Recovery in acceptance rates, showing improvement.
    2018 (95.69%)Continuation of the upward trend, ending the decade on a high note.
    Analysis of UK Visa Statistics (2008-2018): Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Applications

    Overview of ILR Applications (2008-2018):

    • Total ILR Decisions: Approximately 1.52 million decisions made on ILR applications across various categories (Work, Asylum, Family Formation and Reunion, Other).
    • ILR Grants vs. Refusals: 1.44 million applications granted ILR; 75,079 applications refused.
    • Overall ILR Success Rate: A high success rate of 95.07%.
    • Overall ILR Refusal Rate: Comparatively low at 5.19%.

    The analysis of ILR application statistics from 2008-2018 shows a generally positive and stable trend, with a consistently high success rate. Despite a noticeable dip in 2016, the acceptance rates for ILR applications have been robust, especially in comparison to entry clearance and leave to remain applications. This suggests that applicants with strong, compliant cases for ILR generally have a good chance of approval. The upward trend in the latter years of the decade indicates an encouraging scenario for prospective ILR applicants.

    4. Conclusion: Insights from a Decade of UK Visa Statistics (2008-2018)


    The analysis of UK visa statistics and immigration trends over a decade (2008-2018) offers valuable insights into the dynamics of entry clearance, leave to remain, extensions, and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications. These trends not only reflect the evolving landscape of UK immigration but also provide critical guidance for prospective applicants.

    Key Observations:

    1. Upward Trend in Success Rates: There has been a notable improvement in the success rates for both entry clearance visas and ILR applications. This trend is particularly encouraging for genuine applicants, highlighting a more welcoming and efficient visa system.
    2. Decrease in Refusal Rates: A significant decrease in refusal rates over this period suggests enhanced clarity and compliance with immigration rules. It indicates that applicants are becoming better prepared and informed, leading to more successful outcomes.
    3. Evolving Immigration Policies: The fluctuating patterns over the decade mirror changes in UK immigration policies and global socio-economic factors. For instance, policy shifts post-2016 may have influenced the ILR acceptance rates, reflecting the UK’s response to international trends and internal priorities.
    4. Impact of Technology and Information Accessibility: The role of digital platforms in making immigration information more accessible has likely contributed to better-prepared applications, enhancing overall success rates.
    5. Diverse Visa Categories: The trends across various visa categories, from work and asylum to family reunion, underscore the diverse nature of immigration to the UK, each with unique challenges and opportunities.

    Guidance for Prospective Applicants:

    • Understanding Requirements: It’s imperative for applicants to thoroughly understand the specific requirements for their desired visa category. This includes eligibility criteria, financial requirements, and documentation.
    • Staying Informed: Keeping abreast of the latest immigration rules, policies, and application procedures is crucial. Immigration laws can change rapidly, and staying informed can be the difference between acceptance and refusal.
    • Accuracy and Transparency: Providing accurate, complete, and honest information in applications is vital. The trends indicate a stringent approach towards deception or misinformation.
    • Professional Advice: Especially for complex cases, seeking professional advice can significantly enhance the chances of a successful application. Immigration advisors and lawyers can provide tailored guidance based on the latest trends and personal circumstances.

    Final Thoughts:

    The decade-long trends in UK visa and immigration statistics not only inform us about the past but also guide future applicants. They highlight the importance of preparedness, compliance, and awareness of evolving rules. For anyone aspiring to navigate the UK visa process successfully, these insights are invaluable. They encourage a proactive and informed approach to UK immigration, enhancing the prospects of achieving one’s immigration goals.


    1. What was the overall trend in UK visa success rates between 2008 and 2018?

      The trend showed an improvement in success rates for both entry clearance visas and ILR applications, indicating a more favorable environment for genuine applicants.

    2. How did the refusal rates for UK visas change during this period?

      There was a significant decrease in refusal rates, suggesting better preparation by applicants and improvements in the application process.

    3. Are the trends in UK visa statistics reflective of changes in immigration policies?

      Yes, the trends often mirror changes in UK immigration policies and can be influenced by global socio-economic factors.

    4. How has technology impacted UK visa application success rates?

      Increased accessibility to information through digital platforms has likely led to better-prepared applications, enhancing overall success rates.

    5. What does the high success rate in ILR applications indicate?

      The high success rate for ILR applications suggests that applicants who meet the requirements and have a genuine case for ILR have a strong chance of approval.

    6. What should applicants do to improve their chances of UK visa approval?

      Applicants should thoroughly understand the visa requirements, stay updated on immigration rules, ensure accuracy in their applications, and consider seeking professional advice for complex cases.

    7. Can fluctuations in visa statistics be expected to continue?

      Yes, fluctuations are normal and can be expected due to policy changes, international events, and other factors affecting migration trends.

    8. How important is accuracy and transparency in the UK visa application process?

      Providing accurate and complete information is crucial, as the trends indicate a stringent approach towards deception or misinformation.

    9. Is professional legal advice necessary for UK visa applications?

      While not always necessary, professional legal advice can be beneficial, especially in complex cases or when navigating the intricacies of immigration laws.

    10. What role do past immigration trends play in future visa applications?

      Understanding past trends can help applicants anticipate potential challenges and better prepare their applications, increasing the likelihood of success.


    This FAQ section is designed to provide quick and informative answers to common questions about UK visa statistics and immigration trends, helping applicants and interested parties gain a clearer understanding of the visa process and its evolving nature. For further details please refer to UK Government’s Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release.