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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British Citizens Living Abroad

British Citizens Living Abroad and Migrants in the UK

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 in 2017

    Country 2017
    Australia 1,351,846
    United States of America 748,206
    Canada 624,411
    Spain 308,872
    Ireland 278,040
    New Zealand 272,071
    France 188,161
    South Africa 123,764
    Germany 103,700
    Italy 72,234
    Channel Islands 59,939
    Netherlands 53,007
    Switzerland 49,847
    Isle of Man 39,614
    Cyprus 39,497
    Poland 36,186
    Bangladesh 34,266
    Indonesia 32,026
    Belgium 28,234
    United Arab Emirates 27,840
    Sweden 25,558
    Turkey 22,442
    Israel 21,329
    Denmark 21,286
    Norway 20,827
    Chile 18,901
    Portugal 18,709
    China, Hong Kong SAR 17,942
    Greece 17,358
    Japan 16,990
    Malta 12,928
    Austria 12,127
    Oman 10,464
    Kuwait 10,237
    Malaysia 10,049
    Hungary 9,392
    China 9,308
    Botswana 8,561
    Bulgaria 8,025
    Zimbabwe 7,560
    Libya 7,393
    Finland 7,055
    Luxembourg 6,946
    Romania 6,870
    Brazil 6,061
    Gibraltar 5,717
    Slovakia 5,083
    India 4,817
    Republic of Korea 4,810
    Jamaica 4,772
    Philippines 4,416
    Czechia 4,206
    Bermuda 4,024
    Qatar 3,917
    Mexico 3,447
    Lithuania 3,026
    Egypt 2,961
    Barbados 2,522
    Trinidad and Tobago 2,383
    Ecuador 2,222
    Brunei Darussalam 2,172
    Thailand 2,128
    Panama 2,082
    Bahamas 2,077
    Cayman Islands 1,995
    Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 1,831
    Uganda 1,754
    Russian Federation 1,742
    Bahrain 1,700
    Papua New Guinea 1,700
    Peru 1,699
    Namibia 1,594
    Malawi 1,486
    Iceland 1,443
    Ghana 1,399
    Zambia 1,348
    Colombia 1,322
    United Republic of Tanzania 1,264
    Morocco 1,243
    Sri Lanka 1,193
    Viet Nam 1,169
    Latvia 1,111
    Antigua and Barbuda 1,013
    Saint Lucia 980
    Argentina 978
    Andorra 963
    Bolivia (Plurinational State of) 939
    Falkland Islands (Malvinas) 876
    British Virgin Islands 834
    Jordan 814
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 798
    Algeria 793
    Croatia 652
    Serbia 642
    Dominica 638
    Sierra Leone 585
    Guyana 579
    Costa Rica 522
    Dominican Republic 492
    Estonia 463
    Belarus 459
    Uruguay 458
    Mauritius 456
    Turks and Caicos Islands 449
    Belize 442
    Anguilla 426
    Guadeloupe 420
    Saint Helena 398
    Fiji 344
    Tajikistan 322
    Dem. People’s Republic of Korea 307
    Seychelles 293
    Cameroon 276
    Guatemala 232
    Liberia 227
    Lebanon 208
    Paraguay 178
    Puerto Rico 168
    Martinique 152
    Vanuatu 109
    Maldives 107
    Montserrat 106
    Faeroe Islands 103
    Honduras 103
    Cook Islands 96
    Cambodia 94
    El Salvador 90
    Mongolia 89
    Montenegro 88
    French Polynesia 85
    Liechtenstein 72
    Nicaragua 72
    Caribbean Netherlands 57
    Eritrea 56
    Sint Maarten (Dutch part) 54
    Cabo Verde 53
    Cuba 46
    Solomon Islands 38
    Bhutan 36
    Georgia 33
    Samoa 26
    Curaçao 24
    Greenland 15
    Slovenia 12
    Kiribati 8
    Guinea 7
    British Citizens Living Abroad 4,921,309

    Foreign Migrants 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%.

    Year Migrants as Percentage of British Population
    1990 6.38%
    1995 7.17%
    2000 8.02%
    2005 9.83%
    2010 12.01%
    2015 12.86%
    2017 13.36%

    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 Origin Foreign Migrants as Percentage of British Population
    Poland 9.89%
    India 9.46%
    Pakistan 5.99%
    Ireland 4.55%
    Germany 3.40%
    Romania 2.62%
    Bangladesh 2.58%
    South Africa 2.38%
    Nigeria 2.37%
    China 2.34%
    United States of America 2.15%
    Italy 1.93%
    France 1.82%
    Lithuania 1.80%
    Portugal 1.67%
    Jamaica 1.63%
    Kenya 1.59%
    Philippines 1.57%
    Sri Lanka 1.57%
    Australia 1.49%
    Spain 1.49%
    Somalia 1.36%
    Zimbabwe 1.33%
    Ghana 1.29%
    Latvia 1.12%
    China, Hong Kong SAR 1.11%
    Canada 1.04%
    Iran (Islamic Republic of) 1.02%
    Slovakia 1.01%
    Hungary 0.95%
    Afghanistan 0.91%
    Turkey 0.86%
    Iraq 0.85%
    Netherlands 0.82%
    Bulgaria 0.82%
    Nepal 0.80%
    Malaysia 0.74%
    Cyprus 0.71%
    Uganda 0.71%
    New Zealand 0.70%
    Greece 0.68%
    Brazil 0.63%
    Czechia 0.58%
    Russian Federation 0.55%
    Singapore 0.52%
    Japan 0.51%
    United Republic of Tanzania 0.49%
    Thailand 0.46%
    Egypt 0.45%
    Belgium 0.42%
    Mauritius 0.40%
    Morocco 0.40%
    Sweden 0.37%
    Sierra Leone 0.37%
    Saudi Arabia 0.36%
    Viet Nam 0.35%
    Albania 0.34%
    Other North 0.33%
    Malta 0.33%
    Denmark 0.33%
    Zambia 0.32%
    Colombia 0.26%
    Algeria 0.25%
    Trinidad and Tobago 0.24%
    Guyana 0.22%
    Ukraine 0.22%
    Austria 0.20%
    Switzerland 0.20%
    Democratic Republic of the Congo 0.19%
    Barbados 0.19%
    Channel Islands 0.18%
    Sudan 0.18%
    Israel 0.18%
    Yemen 0.18%
    Eritrea 0.18%
    Dem. People’s Republic of Korea 0.17%
    Norway 0.17%
    Malawi 0.17%
    Libya 0.16%
    Lebanon 0.16%
    Ethiopia 0.15%
    Angola 0.15%
    Other South 0.14%
    Finland 0.13%
    Kuwait 0.13%
    Myanmar 0.12%
    United Arab Emirates 0.11%
    Gambia 0.11%
    Gibraltar 0.11%
    Argentina 0.11%
    Cameroon 0.10%
    Isle of Man 0.10%
    Mexico 0.10%
    Indonesia 0.10%
    Grenada 0.09%
    Syrian Arab Republic 0.09%
    Saint Lucia 0.09%
    Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 0.09%
    Congo 0.09%
    Ecuador 0.09%
    Estonia 0.09%
    Croatia 0.08%
    Serbia 0.08%
    Côte d’Ivoire 0.08%
    Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.08%
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 0.07%
    Montserrat 0.07%
    Peru 0.07%
    Chile 0.07%
    Dominica 0.06%
    Republic of Korea 0.06%
    Fiji 0.06%
    Tunisia 0.06%
    Mozambique 0.06%
    Jordan 0.06%
    Bahrain 0.06%
    Saint Kitts and Nevis 0.06%
    Brunei Darussalam 0.05%
    Kazakhstan 0.05%
    Burundi 0.04%
    Rwanda 0.04%
    Belarus 0.04%
    Bermuda 0.04%
    Bolivia 0.04%
    Antigua and Barbuda 0.04%
    Seychelles 0.04%
    Liberia 0.04%
    Botswana 0.03%
    Oman 0.03%
    Republic of Moldova 0.03%
    Georgia 0.03%
    TFYR Macedonia 0.03%
    Azerbaijan 0.03%
    Saint Helena 0.03%
    Uzbekistan 0.03%
    Qatar 0.03%
    Cuba 0.02%
    Namibia 0.02%
    Guinea-Bissau 0.02%
    Guinea 0.02%
    Slovenia 0.02%
    Iceland 0.02%
    Senegal 0.02%
    Luxembourg 0.02%
    Bahamas 0.02%
    Timor-Leste 0.02%
    Mongolia 0.02%
    Armenia 0.02%
    Togo 0.02%
    Swaziland 0.01%
    Dominican Republic 0.01%
    Uruguay 0.01%
    Belize 0.01%
    Cambodia 0.01%
    Cabo Verde 0.01%
    Papua New Guinea 0.01%
    Kyrgyzstan 0.01%
    Montenegro 0.01%
    Madagascar 0.01%
    Guatemala 0.01%
    Sao Tome and Principe 0.01%
    Falkland Islands (Malvinas) 0.01%
    El Salvador 0.01%
    Cayman Islands 0.01%
    Lesotho 0.01%
    Paraguay 0.01%
    Turkmenistan 0.01%
    Costa Rica 0.01%
    Panama 0.01%
    Lao People’s Democratic Republic 0.01%
    Honduras 0.01%
    Aruba 0.01%
    Benin 0.01%
    Anguilla 0.01%
    Djibouti 0.00%
    Suriname 0.00%
    Bhutan 0.00%
    Tajikistan 0.00%
    Monaco 0.00%
    Faeroe Islands 0.00%
    Mali 0.00%
    Nicaragua 0.00%
    Maldives 0.00%
    Gabon 0.00%
    Chad 0.00%
    Solomon Islands 0.00%
    Haiti 0.00%
    Equatorial Guinea 0.00%
    Tonga 0.00%
    British Virgin Islands 0.00%
    Burkina Faso 0.00%
    Mauritania 0.00%
    Samoa 0.00%
    Niger 0.00%
    Kiribati 0.00%
    Central African Republic 0.00%
    Vanuatu 0.00%
    Comoros 0.00%
    United States Virgin Islands 0.00%
    New Caledonia 0.00%
    Turks and Caicos Islands 0.00%
    French Polynesia 0.00%
    Andorra 0.00%
    Greenland 0.00%
    Liechtenstein 0.00%
    Nauru 0.00%
    Réunion 0.00%
    Total Migrants in the UK 100.00%