23 de fevereiro de 2017

idi euaMigration figures show that 41,000 fewer overseas students came to UK in 12 months to September compared with previous year

Migration figures show that 41,000 fewer overseas students came to UK in 12 months to September compared with previous year

Net migration to Britain fell by 49,000 to 273,000 last year, according to official figures that include the three months after the Brexit vote.

The latest quarterly migration figures from the Office for National Statistics show that immigration fell by 23,000 to 596,000 in the 12 months to last September while emigration rose by 26,000 to 323,000.

The fall in annual net immigration to below 300,000 is the first substantial drop in the politically sensitive figure for more than four years and will come as a relief to Theresa May, who has recently renewed her target to get it below 100,000.

A key component in the unexpected fall was an estimated 41,000 drop in the number of international students coming to study in Britain, to 134,000, the lowest level since 2002.

Home Office figures show that the number of EU nationals in Britain who had their applications processed for UK residence documents to secure their individual status more than doubled from 92,289 in 2015 to 201,287 in 2016. More than 140,000 were successful.

The surge in applications continued in the last three months of 2016 with 92,000 outstanding applications listed as “work in progress” on 3 January – about the same level as in the previous snapshot, on 30 September.

The detailed figures show that more than 40,000 applications for British residence documents from EU nationals and their family members were refused in 2016. EU citizens need five years’ continuous residence to qualify.

A further 19,000 applicants were told their applications were invalid. Home Office officials have said they are overhauling the application process, including moving it online, saying applying for residence has turned from “a niche to a mainstream activity” since the Brexit vote.

Work continues to prove the main driver for near-record levels of immigration, particularly from within the EU, whose citizens accounted for 180,000 of the 294,000 who came to Britain to work in the year to September.

Some 190,000 people moving to the UK – the highest ever proportion at 65% – had a definite job to go to, including 113,000 from Europe. A total of 104,000 people, including 51,000 from the EU, came looking for a job.

Immigration from the EU included a 19,000 rise in the number of Romanians and Bulgarians coming to live in Britain, to 74,000, the highest number in a single year. This was partially offset by a 12,000 increase in the number of Poles and other eastern Europeans “going home to live”.

The rise in emigration could be linked to the highly publicised spike in hate crime during and immediately after the referendum campaign. The number of people from eastern Europe leaving the UK rose by nearly a third, to 39,000.

The majority of international students arriving in Britain were from outside Europe – 87,000, down 31,000. However, the ONS said the number of visas issued to non-EU students over the same period had risen by 2%, to 141,000.

The figures also show the first annual fall in asylum applications being made in Britain since 2010, with 38,517 claims lodged, a fall of 1,451 over the previous year. A further 4,369 refugees were brought to Britain under the Syrian resettlement scheme.

The immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, gave a cautious welcome to the drop in net immigration, although the ONS said the fall was not statistically significant.

Goodwill said: “The fall in net migration is encouraging. But this is just one set of statistics and we must not get carried away. We will continue to make progress to bring down net migration to the tens of thousands.

“We will continue reforming routes to the UK from outside Europe and will use the opportunity to take control of immigration from within the EU as we begin Brexit negotiations in the coming weeks. The UK will always welcome those who contribute and benefit our country, but there is no consent for uncontrolled immigration.”

Nicola White, the ONS’s head of international migration statistics, said: “Although we have seen a fall in net migration of EU8 citizens [eight of the countries from eastern Europe that joined the EU in 2004], there have been continued increases in immigration from Romania and Bulgaria, so it is too early to say what effect the referendum result has had on long-term international migration.

“There has been a statistically significant decrease in non-EU long-term students immigrating to the UK while a small increase was seen in the number of study visas issued. It is too early to tell if this is an indication of a long-term trend.”

Madeleine Sumption, of Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, agreed it was too early to tell whether the fall in net immigration was the start of a post-Brexit downward trend.

“However, it is interesting to see that emigration of A8 nationals increased significantly at the same time as many EU nationals were scrambling to secure their status in the UK. Uncertainty is clearly a key issue for EU nationals in the current environment,” she said.

“At the moment the most immediate migration issue facing the government is less net migration, and more the issue of how they will provide residence documents to 3.5 million EU citizens already living in the UK. Exactly how this process will work is not likely to be resolved until EU negotiations get under way, but today’s data show that EU citizens are increasingly keen to get some kind of paperwork in hand sooner rather than later.”

Fonte: The Guardian