Immigration to UK from non-EU countries hits record levels

The number of people moving to the UK long-term from non-EU countries has hit a new record high, according to the latest estimates.

Last year immigration from non-EU countries rose to 404,000, the highest it has ever been since records began in 1975 when it was 93,000, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

Net migration from outside the EU, the balance between the number of people entering and leaving the country, is also at its highest level (282,000) since citizenship information was first collected in 1975, having gradually risen since 2013.

Jay Lindop, director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS, said: “Overall migration levels have remained broadly stable in recent years, but new patterns have emerged for EU and non-EU migrants since 2016.

“For the year ending December 2019, non-EU migration was at the highest level we have seen, driven by a rise in students from China and India, while the number of people arriving from EU countries for work has steadily fallen.

“We know the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on travel since December and new analysis today shows how international travel to and from the UK has decreased in recent months.”

The figures are classed as experimental estimates after the ONS admitted last year it had underestimated some EU net migration data in 2016/17.

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