ONS Release of Migration Statistics, February 2016

UK

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have just released their quarterly report of migration statistics. Here is a summary of our findings.

  • From the year ending September 2014, Immigration increased by 2000.
  • From the year ending September 2014, emigration was down 29,000.
  • In the year ending September 2015, net migration saw a decrease of 13,000, as opposed to the greatest level of 336,000 (released year ending June 2015).
  • Immigration of EU citizens in year ending September 2015 was 257,000, in comparison to 246,000 in year ending September 2014. This was not statistically significant, however, it is too early to tell whether there will be a flood of EU immigration closer to the time of the referendum in June. These next few months will become a very important watching period now that ‘BREXIT’ is very much on the agenda. We could see an increase in EEA nationals entering the UK as a result.
  • Despite the steady, statistically insignificant increase of EEA immigration, there has been a statistically significant increase in EU2 (Bulgaria and Romania) immigration, which was up 15,000 in year ending September 2015 compared to the previous year.
  • In year ending September 2015, out of the 45,000 EU2 citizens coming to the UK, roughly two thirds entered the UK with a certain job offer, which is reassuring from a point of view that the UK economy appears to be in good health. This may have been a concern for anti-EU supporters if the majority were job seekers.
  • Nonetheless, non-EU immigration saw a decrease from 289,000 to 273,000 between Septembers 2014-15.
  • Work visas granted to skilled non-EU (main applicants) only increased by 4% to 54,383. It is important that the government is still valuing shortage-skill non-EU immigration which is vital for many companies, particularly within sciences and technology.

Due to the rapidly changing landscape of current affairs, it would be interesting to see what the statistics are now since the release of the Migration Advisory Committee recommendations and announcement of an early referendum.

Australians and New Zealanders to be faced with Immigration Health Surcharge

Australia-and-New-Zealand2

Today, the Home Office unexpectedly announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), a mandatory payment for most non-EEA applicants entering the UK for more than 6 months, will also be extended to citizens of Australia and New Zealand as of April 6th 2016.

Nationals from Australia and New Zealand will be required to pay a surcharge of £200 per annum regardless of whether they are fresh applicants or extending their stay from within the UK.

With the introduction of the IHS in April 2015, the government declared that citizens of both Australia and New Zealand would be exempt from paying towards the NHS but in a turn of tides, this will no longer be the case.

The IHS has already raked in over £100 million, which the UK government says will contribute to public services.

Managing Director, Jonathan Beech says that “The government’s recent announcement hasn’t stated whether Tier 2 (ICT) applicants will be exempt from paying the IHS. This points towards the fact that the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations to introduce the IHS for Tier 2 (ICT) applicants seems to be likely.”

Applicants under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, will face a £50 reduction in IHS payments, bringing their contribution down to the same total paid by students.