How many British citizens living abroad and migrants in the UK?

Foreign Nationals Living in the UKThis relates to British citizens living abroad statistics from 1990 to 2017. And also provides the details of immigrants living in the UK by country of origin. Moreover, the post also tries to answer: how long British Citizen can stay outside the UK in the light of British Nationality Act 1981 and immigration rules.

British Citizens Living Abroad have increased to 4.92 million

According to UN, during 1990 to 2017, the number of British Citizens living abroad has increased from 3.79 m to 4.92 m. Apparently, the EU has not been the most common destination for Brits choosing to emigrate as 33% of all British-born emigrants living outside the UK in 2017 lived in Australia or New Zealand, 28% lived in the US or Canada and 26% in the EU – of which 6% lived in Ireland. Moreover, 69% of British citizens living in the EU lived in Spain, France or Germany in 2017.

How long British Citizen can stay outside UK?

Perhaps, a short answer is that Section 40 of the British Citizenship Act 1981 does not indicate any reason for depriving British Citizenship for any length of stay abroad. Therefore, British Citizenship can live in another country as long as he/she may deem appropriate. However, this could be misleading if we don’t try to understand the issues pertaining to purpose and permission of staying in another country.

Reciprocity of Immigration Status

The immigration status of Citizens is on a reciprocal basis. For instance, Britain joined the European Economic Community (EEC) on Jan 1, 1973. Accordingly, both the EEC (i.e. now EU) nationals and British nationals enjoyed the right of free movement, which may definitely change on and after March 29, 2019, due to BREXIT.

The free movement enables a British Citizen to live in EU without restrictions. Therefore, a British Citizen can live outside the UK in EU as long as he/she deems necessary. However, even this free movement requires certain documentation. For instance, EEA or Swiss Nationals intending to stay in Austria do not require any authorisation. However, if EEA or a Swiss national intend to stay in Austria for more than three months, then needs to apply for ‘registration certificate’ within four months from entry into Austria.

How long a British Citizen can live in non-EU countries?

A reciprocal arrangement of UK also exists with non-visa nations such as the US, Canada etc. This arrangement has a limited scope and applies in the case for a temporary visit up to 180 days per visits. However, the purpose of such visits is only tourism, meeting family or attending business meetings etc. One can’t work or do business without specific permission. Since Britain allows Non-Visa Nationals a permission to STAY (not LIVE) in the UK for up to 180 days and the arrangement are on a reciprocal basis, therefore, British Citizens may also be allowed to STAY in those countries for up to 180 days. However, if a British Citizen migrates to a non-visa country then needs to abide by the immigration rules of that country- and may remain outside the UK as per the immigration rules of that country.

Year1990199520002005201020152017
British Citizens Living Abroad3,795,6623,715,4833,866,8844,140,6414,461,7114,726,2084,921,309
Australia1,111,2031,100,2211,130,2101,118,8101,187,1501,289,3961,351,846
United States of America640,145667,769694,961696,965720,428724,185748,206
Canada688,691641,095608,742559,313537,040600,583624,411
Spain61,46374,249118,972222,431319,145305,969308,872
Ireland184,671124,169131,924207,764249,392258,444278,040
New Zealand227,889217,660211,532232,954250,997265,014272,071
France102,335105,643108,951143,491171,346188,533188,161
South Africa117,362105,771124,002148,510128,581117,019123,764
Germany103,961107,736111,51096,50683,61687,123103,700
Italy59,49245,56831,64448,31064,97570,98672,234
Channel Islands54,51953,51156,85656,41255,97159,38059,939
Netherlands36,21139,07043,29447,45947,29749,54953,007
Switzerland22,51226,76331,11235,65740,89548,05849,847
Isle of Man30,51032,47534,44236,20037,52139,05239,614
Cyprus9,05512,80416,55224,22739,39340,13439,497
Poland3,7323,1922,73118,98235,82934,54536,186
Bangladesh9,09016,05623,02127,33731,61933,47034,266
Indonesia20,88313,8176,75116,96928,27631,30432,026
Belgium21,48024,01325,85024,47824,91527,87828,234
United Arab Emirates12,22912,84514,20113,00724,50526,77727,840
Sweden11,47313,61614,60217,17520,44424,55225,558
Turkey6,48312,02917,61918,15618,70918,99222,442
Israel14,95817,06618,21819,59321,20521,86921,329
Denmark9,12611,55314,07415,49617,01219,31221,286
Norway14,58613,69214,34714,60116,86819,45720,827
Chile1,4281,5371,6466,32811,04918,16118,901
Portugal6,8668,26910,00914,29916,21518,38318,709
China, Hong Kong SAR11,83813,21214,58515,92417,30117,66617,942
Greece34,22323,50313,16915,61818,79817,67917,358
Japan10,20912,65716,52615,13316,04416,33716,990
Malta5,3336,2587,3138,0059,60812,04612,928
Austria6,0676,8457,6228,5199,41611,01312,127
Oman4,2605,1884,6584,0614,1209,15910,464
Kuwait10,0106,9086,4916,4438,0029,39410,237
Malaysia3,4333,9304,8416,6729,4289,85210,049
Hungary5212,0913,6614,5225,3837,9289,392
China4,7375,6496,5617,2387,9159,1089,308
Botswana3,2892,0349933,6006,2208,2648,561
Bulgaria596921,3242,1652,9146,9828,025
Zimbabwe19,13618,13223,74719,39412,1747,5607,560
Libya8,7126,9595,3215,8636,4157,2327,393
Finland1,7382,0182,2973,5284,7596,4667,055
Luxembourg2,3553,0413,7604,0476,5466,8546,946
Romania2733544167019975,2086,870
Brazil3,8493,9474,0444,5064,9045,9056,061
Gibraltar3,0253,3163,6074,4625,3175,6735,717
Slovakia341,4263,2113,6014,0374,8905,083
India5,0635,5085,9525,5005,0474,8664,817
Republic of Korea5598551,4252,1973,8404,7744,810
Jamaica5,4695,2865,1034,9734,8434,7394,772
Philippines6,0288,11233,60327,1984,2174,2824,416
Czechia3515267012,3833,8694,0434,206
Bermuda4,5904,7264,8834,4364,0084,0614,024
Qatar2,8862,6772,0702,4334,7713,8413,917
Mexico2,2733,0583,9763,4753,3793,3603,447
Lithuania2813152462,2243,9013,3013,026
Egypt3,0512,5732,2992,7372,9543,5042,961
Barbados2,9883,2623,5352,9552,3892,5092,522
Trinidad and Tobago2,1571,9582,0902,2432,2862,3682,383
Ecuador7198078951,0561,4842,1582,222
Brunei Darussalam1,9961,9611,9261,9692,0122,0552,172
Thailand2136599511,9132,0682,128
Panama3193143299991,7172,0172,082
Bahamas1,9641,8341,7051,7721,8391,9932,077
Cayman Islands1,0491,5962,1432,0581,9691,9441,995
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)1,8811,7611,6351,6791,7221,8031,831
Uganda1,0711,0521,2641,2561,2491,2411,754
Russian Federation8998658001,2671,7081,7411,742
Bahrain1,6141,4931,3781,6022,1811,6571,700
Papua New Guinea2,1922,2451,6801,8801,5941,6161,700
Peru1,1851,0341,2091,4151,5341,6581,699
Namibia2,5402,4292,2561,7831,7181,6251,594
Malawi7691,6391,5781,5041,4781,4601,486
Iceland6476847219181,1131,3241,443
Ghana9729691,0841,5241,1301,3391,399
Zambia1,9871,4341,0361,1541,2861,3351,348
Colombia9911,0091,0261,0041,1551,2931,322
United Republic of Tanzania6828669121,0151,0401,0611,264
Morocco8287608018229201,1991,243
Sri Lanka481823175941,1631,1841,193
Viet Nam2561,2303,6132,8039271,1191,169
Latvia1171672188031,3691,1481,111
Antigua and Barbuda6237208178769359941,013
Saint Lucia405547751874920972980
Argentina2,3912,1841,9781,459940943978
Andorra1,0439759071,0851,125988963
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)580619651714776903939
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)664640704650798872876
British Virgin Islands440517594680714800834
Jordan4657249811,4171,822784814
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines682719748763781795798
Algeria2,0601,430800631693764793
Croatia182186171419666670652
Serbia79504686677662647642
Dominica230304362446543633638
Sierra Leone611595580567563561585
Guyana131211290390490574579
Costa Rica451339397260512519522
Dominican Republic581646710586457482492
Estonia314864295524468463
Belarus340409478460441461459
Uruguay535523513475440454458
Mauritius694450458415395454456
Turks and Caicos Islands246316386398410416449
Belize306297288318347403442
Anguilla197254311358390418426
Guadeloupe166222277340402417420
Saint Helena274282291332374397398
Fiji759646528308331341344
Tajikistan477387333321328325322
Dem. People’s Republic of Korea188205221249276304307
Seychelles274223173216259290293
Cameroon......256204260276
Guatemala125134142168194223232
Liberia1,1461,1191,099499230263227
Lebanon212329445349252212208
Paraguay140169198188179174178
Puerto Rico336356377295176173168
Martinique67101135141148153152
Vanuatu23915295100107108109
Maldives949489101102103107
Montserrat1561299497100105106
Faeroe Islands13992888692100103
Honduras7877767573102103
Cook Islands49515370869596
Cambodia431131821421029294
El Salvador1351067782869090
Mongolia65717975808789
Montenegro........9810388
French Polynesia76838992898485
Liechtenstein27374751577072
Nicaragua46374862667172
Caribbean Netherlands50104158168495557
Eritrea34384349565656
Sint Maarten (Dutch part)......25505354
Cabo Verde14222940505253
Cuba110845757524746
Solomon Islands85858159423938
Bhutan17192228343636
Georgia....3432323333
Samoa47413533292726
Curaçao........232424
Greenland32222416191515
Slovenia75106139201151112
Kiribati23181311988
Guinea..........87

How many foreign nationals living in the UK?

Moreover, during 1990-2017, the number of foreign nationals living in the UK has increased from 3.65 m to 8.84 m. Accordingly, the percentage of migrants in the UK has nearly doubled from 6.38% to 13.36% during 1990-2017.

YearMigrants Living in the UKUK PopulationMigrants as Percentage of Total UK Population
19903,650,28657,183,3316.38%
19954,155,29357,978,3217.17%
20004,730,16558,950,8478.02%
20055,926,15660,286,7549.83%
20107,604,58363,306,84312.01%
20158,411,02165,397,08012.86%
20178,841,71766,181,58513.36%

Number of Migrants in the UK by Country of Origin

Apparently, in 2017, as many as 8.84 m foreign nationals were living in the UK. And Polish, Indian, Pakistani, Irish and German nationals top the list of foreign nationals living in the UK.

Country of OriginTotalPercentage
Total Number of Migrants in the UK 20178,841,717100.00%
Poland874,2919.89%
India836,5249.46%
Pakistan529,3245.99%
Ireland402,0894.55%
Germany300,9833.40%
Romania231,3582.62%
Bangladesh228,3532.58%
South Africa210,4702.38%
Nigeria209,4172.37%
China207,2782.34%
United States of America190,4912.15%
Italy170,4541.93%
France160,9911.82%
Lithuania158,8541.80%
Portugal147,2711.67%
Jamaica144,1961.63%
Kenya141,0201.59%
Philippines138,9051.57%
Sri Lanka138,9041.57%
Australia131,5421.49%
Spain131,4961.49%
Somalia119,9531.36%
Zimbabwe117,8731.33%
Ghana113,6371.29%
Latvia98,8821.12%
China, Hong Kong SAR98,3841.11%
Canada91,5451.04%
Iran (Islamic Republic of)90,4991.02%
Slovakia89,4221.01%
Hungary84,1550.95%
Afghanistan80,1600.91%
Turkey75,7910.86%
Iraq74,7190.85%
Netherlands72,6040.82%
Bulgaria72,5860.82%
Nepal70,4870.80%
Malaysia65,2530.74%
Cyprus63,1600.71%
Uganda63,1400.71%
New Zealand62,0910.70%
Greece59,9590.68%
Brazil55,7720.63%
Czechia51,5520.58%
Russian Federation48,3990.55%
Singapore46,3000.52%
Japan45,2430.51%
United Republic of Tanzania43,1390.49%
Thailand41,0460.46%
Egypt39,9800.45%
Belgium36,8220.42%
Mauritius35,7880.40%
Morocco35,7650.40%
Sweden32,6240.37%
Sierra Leone32,6130.37%
Saudi Arabia31,5740.36%
Viet Nam30,5180.35%
Albania30,1570.34%
Other North29,5990.33%
Malta29,4660.33%
Denmark29,4590.33%
Zambia28,4140.32%
Colombia22,7030.26%
Algeria21,9950.25%
Trinidad and Tobago20,7960.24%
Guyana19,2330.22%
Ukraine19,1970.22%
Austria17,7900.20%
Switzerland17,5940.20%
Democratic Republic of the Congo17,1940.19%
Barbados16,6200.19%
Channel Islands16,3500.18%
Sudan16,2000.18%
Israel16,0770.18%
Yemen15,9100.18%
Eritrea15,6040.18%
Dem. People’s Republic of Korea15,3290.17%
Norway14,9520.17%
Malawi14,6520.17%
Libya14,4990.16%
Lebanon14,0430.16%
Ethiopia13,6550.15%
Angola12,8820.15%
Other South12,7840.14%
Finland11,7450.13%
Kuwait11,5230.13%
Myanmar10,7100.12%
United Arab Emirates10,0950.11%
Gambia9,9980.11%
Gibraltar9,8010.11%
Argentina9,2960.11%
Cameroon9,0260.10%
Isle of Man8,6810.10%
Mexico8,6100.10%
Indonesia8,4810.10%
Grenada8,2060.09%
Syrian Arab Republic8,1580.09%
Saint Lucia8,0640.09%
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)8,0620.09%
Congo7,8380.09%
Ecuador7,7250.09%
Estonia7,6740.09%
Croatia7,4020.08%
Serbia7,3850.08%
Côte d’Ivoire6,9970.08%
Bosnia and Herzegovina6,9430.08%
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines6,5650.07%
Montserrat6,4170.07%
Peru6,3830.07%
Chile6,2900.07%
Dominica5,6160.06%
Republic of Korea5,5480.06%
Fiji5,5370.06%
Tunisia5,4150.06%
Mozambique5,2210.06%
Jordan5,1820.06%
Bahrain5,1330.06%
Saint Kitts and Nevis4,9740.06%
Brunei Darussalam4,6980.05%
Kazakhstan4,4520.05%
Burundi3,9510.04%
Rwanda3,9190.04%
Belarus3,8810.04%
Bermuda3,7720.04%
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)3,3160.04%
Antigua and Barbuda3,2750.04%
Seychelles3,1780.04%
Liberia3,1510.04%
Botswana2,8800.03%
Oman2,8130.03%
Republic of Moldova2,8010.03%
Georgia2,7770.03%
TFYR Macedonia2,5980.03%
Azerbaijan2,5620.03%
Saint Helena2,3910.03%
Uzbekistan2,3470.03%
Qatar2,2180.03%
Cuba2,1840.02%
Namibia2,1710.02%
Guinea-Bissau2,1080.02%
Guinea2,0720.02%
Slovenia1,8830.02%
Iceland1,8230.02%
Senegal1,7500.02%
Luxembourg1,7140.02%
Bahamas1,6970.02%
Timor-Leste1,6460.02%
Mongolia1,4920.02%
Armenia1,4670.02%
Togo1,4280.02%
Swaziland1,3070.01%
Dominican Republic1,2170.01%
Uruguay1,2060.01%
Belize1,1890.01%
Cambodia1,0690.01%
Cabo Verde1,0480.01%
Papua New Guinea9820.01%
Kyrgyzstan9270.01%
Montenegro9200.01%
Madagascar9180.01%
Guatemala8590.01%
Sao Tome and Principe8420.01%
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)7930.01%
El Salvador7760.01%
Cayman Islands7480.01%
Lesotho6960.01%
Paraguay6680.01%
Turkmenistan6420.01%
Costa Rica6370.01%
Panama6290.01%
Lao People’s Democratic Republic5860.01%
Honduras5590.01%
Aruba5550.01%
Benin5550.01%
Anguilla4770.01%
Djibouti3980.00%
Suriname3890.00%
Bhutan3790.00%
Tajikistan3720.00%
Monaco3520.00%
Faeroe Islands3500.00%
Mali3360.00%
Nicaragua3320.00%
Maldives3290.00%
Gabon3210.00%
Chad3030.00%
Solomon Islands2970.00%
Haiti2780.00%
Equatorial Guinea2550.00%
Tonga2430.00%
British Virgin Islands2380.00%
Burkina Faso1930.00%
Mauritania1900.00%
Samoa1900.00%
Niger1770.00%
Kiribati1480.00%
Central African Republic1390.00%
Vanuatu1370.00%
Comoros1260.00%
United States Virgin Islands1090.00%
New Caledonia980.00%
Turks and Caicos Islands890.00%
French Polynesia700.00%
Andorra510.00%
Greenland480.00%
Liechtenstein250.00%
Nauru240.00%
Réunion100.00%

READ BLOG POSTS UK VISA & APPEAL SERVICES
UK VISA ENQUIRY PROCEDURE CONTACT IMMIGRATION SOLICITORS

Related: Requirements to Naturalise as a British Citizen u/s 6 of 1981 ActTypes of British Citizenship, Naturalisation and Registration Grants, and British Nationality Act 1981

Perhaps, to know more about UK Visa and Immigration please refer: UK Priority Visa ServiceUK Settlement Visa Processing TimeUK Tourist Visa Processing Time After BiometricsUK Visa Delay ReasonsUK Visa Reapply or AppealUK Immigration Appeal Waiting Time and UK Visa Appeal Solicitors