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Wednesday, 20th April 2011

Long-Term International Migration Flows to and from the UK

Source: Migration Observatory (UK)


Key Points

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) LTIM estimates, net-migration to the UK, the difference between immigration and emigration, was 198,000 in 2009 (the latest available figure). This constitutes an increase from the 2008 estimate (163,000).

Taking a longer-term view, the UK has experienced significant net-migration since 1991 (2,462,000 total net-migration since 1991). Average annual net-migration to the UK was 187,000 during 2000-2009, almost triple the annual average for 1991-1999 (65,000).

There has been continuous net-emigration among British citizens since 1991. In 2009, 44,000 more British citizens moved abroad than came to live in the UK. This is the lowest value for British net-emigration in a decade.

Net-migration of non-British citizens was 242,000 in 2009, compared with 352,000 in 2004 and 89,000 in 1991.

In 2009, non-EU citizens accounted for 53% of all immigration to the UK. The share of EU citizens (non- British) in total immigration increased from 22% in 2004 to 30% in 2009.

There is considerable uncertainty about the accuracy of the available estimates of net-migration. The dynamics of LTIM estimates differ from the dynamics suggested by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Annual Population Survey (APS). Reasons for these differences include the definition of migrants, sampling issues concerning students living in communal establishments, undercounting of asylum seekers and reliance on self-reporting intentions, among others.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

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