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

    Country2017
    Australia1,351,846
    United States of America748,206
    Canada624,411
    Spain308,872
    Ireland278,040
    New Zealand272,071
    France188,161
    South Africa123,764
    Germany103,700
    Italy72,234
    Channel Islands59,939
    Netherlands53,007
    Switzerland49,847
    Isle of Man39,614
    Cyprus39,497
    Poland36,186
    Bangladesh34,266
    Indonesia32,026
    Belgium28,234
    United Arab Emirates27,840
    Sweden25,558
    Turkey22,442
    Israel21,329
    Denmark21,286
    Norway20,827
    Chile18,901
    Portugal18,709
    China, Hong Kong SAR17,942
    Greece17,358
    Japan16,990
    Malta12,928
    Austria12,127
    Oman10,464
    Kuwait10,237
    Malaysia10,049
    Hungary9,392
    China9,308
    Botswana8,561
    Bulgaria8,025
    Zimbabwe7,560
    Libya7,393
    Finland7,055
    Luxembourg6,946
    Romania6,870
    Brazil6,061
    Gibraltar5,717
    Slovakia5,083
    India4,817
    Republic of Korea4,810
    Jamaica4,772
    Philippines4,416
    Czechia4,206
    Bermuda4,024
    Qatar3,917
    Mexico3,447
    Lithuania3,026
    Egypt2,961
    Barbados2,522
    Trinidad and Tobago2,383
    Ecuador2,222
    Brunei Darussalam2,172
    Thailand2,128
    Panama2,082
    Bahamas2,077
    Cayman Islands1,995
    Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)1,831
    Uganda1,754
    Russian Federation1,742
    Bahrain1,700
    Papua New Guinea1,700
    Peru1,699
    Namibia1,594
    Malawi1,486
    Iceland1,443
    Ghana1,399
    Zambia1,348
    Colombia1,322
    United Republic of Tanzania1,264
    Morocco1,243
    Sri Lanka1,193
    Viet Nam1,169
    Latvia1,111
    Antigua and Barbuda1,013
    Saint Lucia980
    Argentina978
    Andorra963
    Bolivia (Plurinational State of)939
    Falkland Islands (Malvinas)876
    British Virgin Islands834
    Jordan814
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines798
    Algeria793
    Croatia652
    Serbia642
    Dominica638
    Sierra Leone585
    Guyana579
    Costa Rica522
    Dominican Republic492
    Estonia463
    Belarus459
    Uruguay458
    Mauritius456
    Turks and Caicos Islands449
    Belize442
    Anguilla426
    Guadeloupe420
    Saint Helena398
    Fiji344
    Tajikistan322
    Dem. People’s Republic of Korea307
    Seychelles293
    Cameroon276
    Guatemala232
    Liberia227
    Lebanon208
    Paraguay178
    Puerto Rico168
    Martinique152
    Vanuatu109
    Maldives107
    Montserrat106
    Faeroe Islands103
    Honduras103
    Cook Islands96
    Cambodia94
    El Salvador90
    Mongolia89
    Montenegro88
    French Polynesia85
    Liechtenstein72
    Nicaragua72
    Caribbean Netherlands57
    Eritrea56
    Sint Maarten (Dutch part)54
    Cabo Verde53
    Cuba46
    Solomon Islands38
    Bhutan36
    Georgia33
    Samoa26
    Curaçao24
    Greenland15
    Slovenia12
    Kiribati8
    Guinea7
    British Citizens Living Abroad4,921,309

    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%.

    YearMigrants as Percentage of British Population
    19906.38%
    19957.17%
    20008.02%
    20059.83%
    201012.01%
    201512.86%
    201713.36%

    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 OriginPercentage of British Pop.
    Poland9.89%
    India9.46%
    Pakistan5.99%
    Ireland4.55%
    Germany3.40%
    Romania2.62%
    Bangladesh2.58%
    South Africa2.38%
    Nigeria2.37%
    China2.34%
    United States of America2.15%
    Italy1.93%
    France1.82%
    Lithuania1.80%
    Portugal1.67%
    Jamaica1.63%
    Kenya1.59%
    Philippines1.57%
    Sri Lanka1.57%
    Australia1.49%
    Spain1.49%
    Somalia1.36%
    Zimbabwe1.33%
    Ghana1.29%
    Latvia1.12%
    China, Hong Kong SAR1.11%
    Canada1.04%
    Iran (Islamic Republic of)1.02%
    Slovakia1.01%
    Hungary0.95%
    Afghanistan0.91%
    Turkey0.86%
    Iraq0.85%
    Netherlands0.82%
    Bulgaria0.82%
    Nepal0.80%
    Malaysia0.74%
    Cyprus0.71%
    Uganda0.71%
    New Zealand0.70%
    Greece0.68%
    Brazil0.63%
    Czechia0.58%
    Russian Federation0.55%
    Singapore0.52%
    Japan0.51%
    United Republic of Tanzania0.49%
    Thailand0.46%
    Egypt0.45%
    Belgium0.42%
    Mauritius0.40%
    Morocco0.40%
    Sweden0.37%
    Sierra Leone0.37%
    Saudi Arabia0.36%
    Viet Nam0.35%
    Albania0.34%
    Other North0.33%
    Malta0.33%
    Denmark0.33%
    Zambia0.32%
    Colombia0.26%
    Algeria0.25%
    Trinidad and Tobago0.24%
    Guyana0.22%
    Ukraine0.22%
    Austria0.20%
    Switzerland0.20%
    Democratic Republic of the Congo0.19%
    Barbados0.19%
    Channel Islands0.18%
    Sudan0.18%
    Israel0.18%
    Yemen0.18%
    Eritrea0.18%
    Dem. People’s Republic of Korea0.17%
    Norway0.17%
    Malawi0.17%
    Libya0.16%
    Lebanon0.16%
    Ethiopia0.15%
    Angola0.15%
    Other South0.14%
    Finland0.13%
    Kuwait0.13%
    Myanmar0.12%
    United Arab Emirates0.11%
    Gambia0.11%
    Gibraltar0.11%
    Argentina0.11%
    Cameroon0.10%
    Isle of Man0.10%
    Mexico0.10%
    Indonesia0.10%
    Grenada0.09%
    Syrian Arab Republic0.09%
    Saint Lucia0.09%
    Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)0.09%
    Congo0.09%
    Ecuador0.09%
    Estonia0.09%
    Croatia0.08%
    Serbia0.08%
    Côte d’Ivoire0.08%
    Bosnia and Herzegovina0.08%
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines0.07%
    Montserrat0.07%
    Peru0.07%
    Chile0.07%
    Dominica0.06%
    Republic of Korea0.06%
    Fiji0.06%
    Tunisia0.06%
    Mozambique0.06%
    Jordan0.06%
    Bahrain0.06%
    Saint Kitts and Nevis0.06%
    Brunei Darussalam0.05%
    Kazakhstan0.05%
    Burundi0.04%
    Rwanda0.04%
    Belarus0.04%
    Bermuda0.04%
    Bolivia0.04%
    Antigua and Barbuda0.04%
    Seychelles0.04%
    Liberia0.04%
    Botswana0.03%
    Oman0.03%
    Republic of Moldova0.03%
    Georgia0.03%
    TFYR Macedonia0.03%
    Azerbaijan0.03%
    Saint Helena0.03%
    Uzbekistan0.03%
    Qatar0.03%
    Cuba0.02%
    Namibia0.02%
    Guinea-Bissau0.02%
    Guinea0.02%
    Slovenia0.02%
    Iceland0.02%
    Senegal0.02%
    Luxembourg0.02%
    Bahamas0.02%
    Timor-Leste0.02%
    Mongolia0.02%
    Armenia0.02%
    Togo0.02%
    Swaziland0.01%
    Dominican Republic0.01%
    Uruguay0.01%
    Belize0.01%
    Cambodia0.01%
    Cabo Verde0.01%
    Papua New Guinea0.01%
    Kyrgyzstan0.01%
    Montenegro0.01%
    Madagascar0.01%
    Guatemala0.01%
    Sao Tome and Principe0.01%
    Falkland Islands (Malvinas)0.01%
    El Salvador0.01%
    Cayman Islands0.01%
    Lesotho0.01%
    Paraguay0.01%
    Turkmenistan0.01%
    Costa Rica0.01%
    Panama0.01%
    Lao People’s Democratic Republic0.01%
    Honduras0.01%
    Aruba0.01%
    Benin0.01%
    Anguilla0.01%
    Djibouti0.00%
    Suriname0.00%
    Bhutan0.00%
    Tajikistan0.00%
    Monaco0.00%
    Faeroe Islands0.00%
    Mali0.00%
    Nicaragua0.00%
    Maldives0.00%
    Gabon0.00%
    Chad0.00%
    Solomon Islands0.00%
    Haiti0.00%
    Equatorial Guinea0.00%
    Tonga0.00%
    British Virgin Islands0.00%
    Burkina Faso0.00%
    Mauritania0.00%
    Samoa0.00%
    Niger0.00%
    Kiribati0.00%
    Central African Republic0.00%
    Vanuatu0.00%
    Comoros0.00%
    United States Virgin Islands0.00%
    New Caledonia0.00%
    Turks and Caicos Islands0.00%
    French Polynesia0.00%
    Andorra0.00%
    Greenland0.00%
    Liechtenstein0.00%
    Nauru0.00%
    Réunion0.00%
    Total Migrants in the UK100.00%