How Many British Citizens Living Abroad and Migrants in the UK?

This relates to British citizens living abroad statistics from 1990 to 2017. And 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 the British Nationality Act 1981 and immigration rules.

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1. How Many British Citizens are Living Abroad?

During 1990 to 2017, the number of British citizens living abroad has increased from 3.79 m to 4.92 m. In fact, the most popular destination for Brits choosing to emigrate is Oceania as 33% of all British-born emigrants in 2017 are living in Australia or New Zealand. Moreover, 28% of British citizens are living abroad in US or Canada and 26% in the EU – of which 6% lived in Ireland. Furthermore, 69% of British citizens living in the EU are in Spain, France, or Germany in 2017.

British Citizen Living in the EU Countries

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 the EU as long as they deem necessary. However, even this free movement requires certain documentation. For instance, EEA or Swiss nationals intending to stay in Austria do not require any authorization. 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.

British Citizen Living 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.

How long British Citizen can stay outside the UK?

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 if they 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.

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British Citizens Living Abroad

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    British Citizens Living Abroad

    Country199020102017
    Australia1,111,2031,187,1501,351,846
    United States of America640,145720,428748,206
    Canada688,691537,040624,411
    Spain61,463319,145308,872
    Ireland184,671249,392278,040
    New Zealand227,889250,997272,071
    France102,335171,346188,161
    South Africa117,362128,581123,764
    Germany103,96183,616103,700
    Italy59,49264,97572,234
    Channel Islands54,51955,97159,939
    Netherlands36,21147,29753,007
    Switzerland22,51240,89549,847
    Isle of Man30,51037,52139,614
    Cyprus9,05539,39339,497
    Poland3,73235,82936,186
    Bangladesh9,09031,61934,266
    Indonesia20,88328,27632,026
    Belgium21,48024,91528,234
    United Arab Emirates12,22924,50527,840
    Sweden11,47320,44425,558
    Turkey6,48318,70922,442
    Israel14,95821,20521,329
    Denmark9,12617,01221,286
    Norway14,58616,86820,827
    Chile1,42811,04918,901
    Portugal6,86616,21518,709
    China, Hong Kong SAR11,83817,30117,942
    Greece34,22318,79817,358
    Japan10,20916,04416,990
    Malta5,3339,60812,928
    Austria6,0679,41612,127
    Oman4,2604,12010,464
    Kuwait10,0108,00210,237
    Malaysia3,4339,42810,049
    Hungary5215,3839,392
    China4,7377,9159,308
    Botswana3,2896,2208,561
    Bulgaria592,9148,025
    Zimbabwe19,13612,1747,560
    Libya8,7126,4157,393
    Finland1,7384,7597,055
    Luxembourg2,3556,5466,946
    Romania2739976,870
    Brazil3,8494,9046,061
    Gibraltar3,0255,3175,717
    Slovakia344,0375,083
    India5,0635,0474,817
    Republic of Korea5593,8404,810
    Jamaica5,4694,8434,772
    Philippines6,0284,2174,416
    Czechia3513,8694,206
    Bermuda4,5904,0084,024
    Qatar2,8864,7713,917
    Mexico2,2733,3793,447
    Lithuania2813,9013,026
    Egypt3,0512,9542,961
    Barbados2,9882,3892,522
    Trinidad and Tobago2,1572,2862,383
    Ecuador7191,4842,222
    Brunei Darussalam1,9962,0122,172
    Thailand211,9132,128
    Panama3191,7172,082
    Bahamas1,9641,8392,077
    Cayman Islands1,0491,9691,995
    Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)1,8811,7221,831
    Uganda1,0711,2491,754
    Russian Federation8991,7081,742
    Bahrain1,6142,1811,700
    Papua New Guinea2,1921,5941,700
    Peru1,1851,5341,699
    Namibia2,5401,7181,594
    Malawi7691,4781,486
    Iceland6471,1131,443
    Ghana9721,1301,399
    Zambia1,9871,2861,348
    Colombia9911,1551,322
    United Republic of Tanzania6821,0401,264
    Morocco8289201,243
    Sri Lanka481,1631,193
    Viet Nam2569271,169
    Latvia1171,3691,111
    Antigua and Barbuda6239351,013
    Saint Lucia405920980
    Argentina2,391940978
    Andorra1,0431,125963
    Bolivia (Plurinational State of)580776939
    Falkland Islands (Malvinas)664798876
    British Virgin Islands440714834
    Jordan4651,822814
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines682781798
    Algeria2,060693793
    Croatia182666652
    Serbia79662642
    Dominica230543638
    Sierra Leone611563585
    Guyana131490579
    Costa Rica451512522
    Dominican Republic581457492
    Estonia31524463
    Belarus340441459
    Uruguay535440458
    Mauritius694395456
    Turks and Caicos Islands246410449
    Belize306347442
    Anguilla197390426
    Guadeloupe166402420
    Saint Helena274374398
    Fiji759331344
    Tajikistan477328322
    Dem. People’s Republic of Korea188276307
    Seychelles274259293
    Cameroon..204276
    Guatemala125194232
    Liberia1,146230227
    Lebanon212252208
    Paraguay140179178
    Puerto Rico336176168
    Martinique67148152
    Vanuatu239107109
    Maldives94102107
    Montserrat156100106
    Faeroe Islands13992103
    Honduras7873103
    Cook Islands498696
    Cambodia4310294
    El Salvador1358690
    Mongolia658089
    Montenegro..9888
    French Polynesia768985
    Liechtenstein275772
    Nicaragua466672
    Caribbean Netherlands504957
    Eritrea345656
    Sint Maarten (Dutch part)..5054
    Cabo Verde145053
    Cuba1105246
    Solomon Islands854238
    Bhutan173436
    Georgia..3233
    Samoa472926
    Curaçao..2324
    Greenland321915
    Slovenia751512
    Kiribati2398
    Guinea....7
    British Citizens Living Abroad3,795,6624,461,7114,921,309

    How Many Foreign Migrants Are Living in the UK?

    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 population has nearly doubled from 6.38% to 13.36%.

    YearNo. of MigrantsMigrants as Percentage of British Population
    19903,650,2866.38%
    19954,155,2937.17%
    20004,730,1658.02%
    20055,926,1569.83%
    20107,604,58312.01%
    20158,411,02112.86%
    20178,841,71713.36%

    Foreign Migrants in the UK by Country of Origin

    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 OriginNo. of MigrantsPercentage of British Pop.
    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%
    Bolivia3,3160.04%
    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%
    Total Migrants in the UK8,841,717100.00%
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