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What are quarterly reports

what are quarterly reports


Key figures

  • Net long-term migration to the UK was estimated to be 298,000 in the year ending September 2014, a statistically significant increase from 210,000 in the previous 12 months, but below the peak of 320,000 in the year ending June 2005.
  • 624,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending September 2014, a statistically significant increase from 530,000 in the previous 12 months. There were statistically significant increases for immigration of non-EU citizens (up 49,000 to 292,000) and EU (non-British) citizens (up 43,000 to 251,000). Immigration of British citizens increased by 4,000 to 82,000, but this change was not statistically significant.
  • An estimated 327,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year ending September 2014. Overall emigration levels have been relatively stable since 2010.
  • 271,000 people immigrated for work in the year ending September 2014, a statistically significant increase of 54,000 compared with a year earlier. This continues the rise since the year ending June 2012. The increase over the past year applied to both non-EU and EU (non-British) citizens, as well as British citizens. However, only the increase for non-EU citizens was statistically significant.
  • Latest employment statistics show estimated employment of EU nationals (excluding British) living in the UK was 269,000 higher in October to December 2014 compared with a year earlier. Over the same period, British nationals in employment also increased (by 375,000) while non-EU nationals in employment fell by 29,000.
  • In the year ending September 2014, work-related visas granted (main applicants) rose 8,833 (or 8%) to 115,680, largely reflecting a 6,142 (or 14%) increase for skilled work.
  • National Insurance number (NINo) registrations to adult overseas nationals increased by 24% to 768,000 in the year ending December 2014, when compared with the previous year.
  • 37,000 Romanian and Bulgarian (EU2) citizens immigrated to the UK in the year ending September 2014, a statistically significant increase from 24,000 in the previous 12 months. Of these, 27,000 were coming for work, a rise of 10,000 on year ending September 2013, but this increase itself was not statistically significant.
  • Immigration for study increased from 175,000 to 192,000 in the year ending September 2014, but this change was not statistically significant. Over the same period, visa applications to study at a UK university (main applicants) rose 2% to 171,065.
  • The number of immigrants arriving to accompany or join others showed a statistically significant increase, from 66,000 to 90,000 in the year ending September 2014.
  • There were 24,914 asylum applications (main applicants) in 2014, an increase of 6% compared with 23,584 in 2013, but low relative to the peak of 84,132 in 2002. The largest number of asylum applications in 2014 came from Eritrea (3,239), Pakistan (2,711), Syria (2,081) and Iran (2,011).


The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR) is a summary of the quarterly releases of official international migration statistics. This edition covers those released on 26 February 2015 and it also includes links to other migration products released on that date. The majority of figures presented are for the year ending September 2014, but where available, figures are provided for the year ending December 2014.

Long-term migration estimates relate to people who move from their country of previous residence for a period of at least a year. Figures relating to visas include long-term and short-term migrants and their dependants; National Insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals also include long-term and short-term migrants.

A summary version of this report is also available.


This edition of the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR) includes provisional estimates of international migration for the year ending September 2014.

The MSQR series brings together statistics on migration published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Migration statistics are a fundamental component of ONS’s mid-year population estimates. These are used by central and local government and the health sector for planning and monitoring service delivery, resource allocation and managing the economy. There is considerable interest in migration statistics both nationally and internationally, particularly in relation to the impact of migration on society and on the economy. Additionally, migration statistics are used to monitor the impact of immigration policy and performance against a stated target to reduce annual net migration to the tens of thousands by 2015 1 .

For further information on how ONS migration statistics are used, along with information on their fitness for purpose, please see the ‘Quality and Methodology Information for Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) Releases’ (217.6 Kb Pdf). For information on the accuracy of these statistics, the difference between provisional and final figures and guidance on comparing different data sources, please see the ‘MSQR Information for Users’ (365.1 Kb Pdf). If you are new to migration statistics, you might find it helpful to read our ‘International Migration Statistics First Time User Guide’ (315.4 Kb Pdf) .

New for this release:

New tables and charts have been added to the ‘Provisional Estimates of Long-Term International Migration’ spreadsheet showing estimates of citizenship by main reason for migration and by previous main reason for migration, using the new country groupings which ONS consulted on in 2014. A list of which countries are in each of the old and new groups (371.5 Kb Excel sheet) is also available.

Accuracy of migration estimates

Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates are about 90% based on data from the International Passenger Survey (IPS), with adjustments made for asylum seekers, non-asylum enforced removals, visitor and migrant switchers and flows to and from Northern Ireland.


gather information from a sample of people from a population. In the case of the IPS, the population is passengers travelling through the main entry and exit points from the UK including airports, seaports and the Channel Tunnel. The estimates produced are based on only one of a number of possible samples that could have been drawn at a given point in time. Each of these possible samples would produce an estimated number of migrants. These may be different to the true value that would have been obtained if it were possible to ask everyone passing through about their migration intentions. This is known as sampling variability.

The published estimate is based upon the single sample that was taken and is the best estimate of the true value based on the data collected. However, to account for sampling variability, the estimates are published alongside a 95% confidence interval .

The confidence interval can be interpreted as the range within which there is a high probability (95%) that the true value for the population lies because, if we were to repeat the sampling process, we would expect the true value to lie outside the confidence interval only 1 in 20 times.

The confidence interval is a measure of the uncertainty around the estimate. Confidence intervals become larger for more detailed estimates (such as citizenship by reason for migrating). This is because the number of people in the sample who have these specific characteristics (for example, EU8 citizens arriving to study in the UK) is smaller than the number of people sampled within a category at a higher level (such as the total number of EU citizens arriving to study in the UK). The larger the confidence interval, the less precise is the estimate. Therefore users of migration statistics are advised to use the highest level breakdown of data where possible.

Estimates from the IPS may change from one period to the next simply due to sampling variability. In other words, the change may be due to which individuals were selected to answer the survey, and may not represent any real-world change in migration patterns.

Statistical tests can be used to determine whether any increases or decreases that we see in the estimates from the IPS could be due to chance, or whether they are likely to represent a real change in migration patterns. If the tests show that the changes are unlikely to have occurred through chance alone, and are likely to reflect a real change, then the change is described as being statistically significant. The usual standard is to carry out these tests at the 5% level of statistical significance. This means that we would expect only 1 out of 20 differences identified as statistically significant to have occurred purely by chance.

Revisions to net migration estimates in light of the 2011 Census

In April 2014, ONS published a report (1.04 Mb Pdf) examining the quality of international migration statistics between 2001 and 2011 (1.04 Mb Pdf). using the results of the 2011 Census. A key finding of the report was that over the ten year period annual net migration estimates were a total of 346,000 lower than total net migration implied by the 2011 Census. However, the report also showed that the quality of international migration estimates improved following changes made to the International Passenger Survey (IPS) in 2009.

Within the report. ONS published a revised series of net migration estimates for the UK. Published tables have been updated on the ONS website to include the revised estimates. The report (1.04 Mb Pdf). a summary and guidance (55.9 Kb Pdf) on how to use these revised figures are available on the ONS website.

Note on use of LTIM and IPS in the MSQR

The MSQR uses LTIM estimates where available. However, for some combinations of variables it is not possible to aggregate IPS survey data up to full LTIM statistics. In such cases the IPS statistics are presented, which exclude the various adjustments used to create LTIM: asylum seekers, non-asylum enforced removals, visitor and migrant switchers and flows to and from Northern Ireland. This means that the IPS totals will not match LTIM totals, but will still give a good measure of magnitude and direction of change. In the main body of the report (Section 1 onwards) any IPS statistics are indicated as such.

Notes for Introduction

There have been references to the target in documents and speeches. For example:

1. Net migration to the UK

This section describes the latest international migration statistics within the context of the historical time series of the statistics and sets out the likely drivers behind the trends observed.

Net migration is the difference between immigration and emigration. The net migration estimate for the year ending September 2014 is 298,000 and has a confidence interval of +/-43,000. This is a statistically significant increase from the estimate of 210,000 (+/-36,000) in the previous year. This continues the generally increasing trend in net migration over the last two years since the recent low of 154,000 in the year ending September 2012.

Figure 1.1a shows rolling annual estimates from the year ending December 2004 onwards. This shows that net migration remains lower than the peak of 320,000 in the year ending June 2005. Figure 1.1b provides annual totals from 1970 to 2013 to show the longer-term context.

Figure 1.1a: Long-Term International Migration, 2004 to 2014 (year ending September 2014)

Figure 1.1a: Long-Term International Migration, 2004 to 2014 (year ending September 2014)

Source: Long-term International Migration - Office for National Statistics

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