The immigration statistics from Oct 2015 to Sept 2016 indicates that the net migration to the UK drops after June 2016 Brexit Vote. Apparently, the net migration after Brexit vote fell by approx 49,000 from Oct 15 to Sept 16. Perhaps, this is largely due to an unexpected fall of 41,000 applications by international students. However, applications from EU citizens for UK residence documents more than doubled during the year ending Sept 30, 2016. Most noteworthy: the most Pressing Issue is not less net migration but the provision of residence documents to 3.5m EU Citizens living in the UK.
Net Migration to the UK Drops After Brexit Vote in June 2016
According to the official figures that include the 3 months period after the Brexit vote in June 2016 indicates a big fall of 49,000 in net migration to the UK. Perhaps, this the decrease in net migration from 322,000 to 273,000 is due to a decrease in immigration to the UK. And also an increase in emigration from the UK. Apparently, immigration fell by 23,000 to reach a level of 596,000; however, emigration increased by 26,000 to reach a level of 323,000 by the end of Sept 2016.
Net migration after Brexit is a politically sensitive issue!
The plunge in annual net immigration below 300,000 is the first tangible drop in the politically sensitive figure for more than four (4) years. And it may come as a relief to PM Theresa May, who has recently renewed her target to get it below a hundred thousand (100,000).
An unexpected fall in the applications by Students
A major component in the sudden and unexpected fall in New Immigration was an estimated forty-one thousand (41,000) drop in the number of international students coming to study in the UK, to hundred and thirty-four thousand (134,000), the lowest level since 2002.
The bulk of students coming to the UK were from outside Europe – i.e., eighty-seven thousand (87,000), down by thirty-one thousand (31,000). However, according to the ONS, the number of visas issued to non-EU students over the same period had risen by 2%, to reach a level of hundred and forty-one thousand (141,000).
Increase in applications by EU Citizens for residence documents
The Home Office figures revealed that the number of EU nationals in Britain who had their applications processed for the UK residence documents to secure their status more than doubled. EU citizens need 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK to qualify for settlement.
Accordingly, the number of applications increased from ninety-two thousand two hundred and eighty-nine (92,289) in Oct 14-Sept 15 to two hundred one thousand and two eighty-seven (201,287) in Oct 15-Sept 16. More than 140,000 were successful. The detailed figures show that more than 40,000 applications for British residence documents from EU Citizens and their dependant family members were rejected during Oct 15-Sept 16. A further 19,000 applicants were advised that their applications were invalid.
Overhauling Application Processing System for EU Citizens
According to media reports, the Home Office is planning to overhaul the application process, i.e., moving it online. Keeping in view the expected quantum of settlement applications from EU Nationals resident in Britain in the coming years, since the Brexit Vote, applying for residence has turned from a niche to a mainstream activity.
Work Applications during Oct 15-Sept 16
Work continues to be the primary driver for near-record levels of immigration, especially from within the EU, whose citizens accounted for hundred and eighty thousand (180,000) of the two hundred and ninety-four thousand (294,000) who had come to Britain to work in the year to September 2016.
As many as hundred and ninety thousand (190,000) people moving to the UK – the highest ever proportion at 65% – had a definite job to go to, including hundred and thirteen thousand (113,000) from Europe.
Looking for a Job
A total of hundred and four thousand (104,000) people, including fifty-one thousand (51,000) from the EU, came looking for a job;
EU Citizens from Romania and Bulgaria
Immigration from the EU included a nineteen thousand (19,000) rise in the number of Bulgarians and Romanians coming to live in Britain, to seventy-four thousand (74,000), the highest number in a single year. This was partially offset by a twelve thousand (12,000) increase in the number of Polish Citizens and other Eastern Europeans, who intend to go back home to live.
Rise in emigration from the UK due to hate crime
The rise in emigration could be attributed to the highly publicised spike in hate crime during and shortly after the referendum campaign. The number of Eastern Europeans moving from the UK rose by nearly a third, to thirty-nine thousand (39,000).
Asylum Applications fell by 1,451
The figures also show the first yearly fall in asylum applications being made in the UK since 2010, with thirty-eight thousand five hundred and seventeen (38,517) claims lodged, a fall of fourteen hundred and fifty-one (1,451) over the corresponding previous year. However, during the period, four thousand three hundred sixty-nine (4,369) refugees were brought to Britain under Syrian Resettlement Scheme.
Government’s Reaction and Policy Stance
According to media reports, the Conservative Government is giving a cautious welcome to the drop in net immigration. The drop in net migration is encouraging for the policy stance of the government, but this is only one set of statistics, and the UK Government is not getting carried away. The Government is resolved to continue to make further progress to bring down net migration to tens of thousands.
The UK Government will continue to reform routes to the UK for non-EU citizens. Additionally, utilising the opportunity to control immigration the EU as it begins Brexit Negotiations in the coming weeks and months. According to the government, the UK will always welcome those immigrants who contribute to and benefit the British Isles; however, there is no consent for uncontrolled immigration either from the EU or outside the EU.
Fall in Net Migration and Long-Term Migration Trends
The point of view of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) is that the fall in Net Immigration is not statistically notable.
The Head of International Migration Statistics of ONS has the viewpoint that there is a fall in net migration from EU8 citizens (eight Eastern European Countries that joined the EU in 2004), but there is a continued increase in immigration from Bulgaria and Bulgaria. Therefore, it is pretty early to reach any conclusion regarding the effects of the referendum results on the long-term international migration to the UK.
According to statistics, there has been a significant decrease in non-EU long-term students immigrating to the United Kingdom while a modest increase in the number of study visas issued. It is quite early to explain that if this is an indication of any long-term trend.
Other migration experts also agreed to this opinion and stated that it was immature to tell whether the drop in net immigration was the start of a post-Brexit downward trend.
Uncertainty and Migration from EU
It is interesting to note that emigration of A8 nationals increased significantly at the same time as many EU citizens are scrambling to secure their resident status in the United Kingdom. Uncertainty is clearly a major issue for EU nationals in the present political environment.
Provision of Residence Documents to 3.5m EU Citizens
At the moment the most pressing migration issue facing the UK Government is NOT Less Net Migration, but how to provide residence documents to 3.5 million EU citizens presently living in the United Kingdom.
Exactly how this process will work is not likely to be resolved until negotiations with the European Union will be initiated, but the present data reveals that EU citizens are increasingly keen to get the paperwork and resident documents sooner rather than at a later stage.
Perhaps, to know more about UK Visa and Immigration please refer: UK Priority Visa Service, UK Settlement Visa Processing Time, UK Tourist Visa Processing Time After Biometrics, UK Visa Delay Reasons, UK Visa Reapply or Appeal, UK Immigration Appeal Waiting Time and UK Visa Appeal Solicitors