Net migration to the UK fell by 10% to 685,000

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Official data showed on Wednesday that net migration to the UK fell 10% to 685,000 in 2023, but capital flows remained well above the historical average.

Office for National Statistics figures on legal migration show that the number of people coming to the country to work surpassed the number coming to study last year.

The figures also show that the peak net migration in 2022 is higher than previously thought, at 764,000. Net inflows in the year to June 2023 were also 68,000 higher than the previous estimate of 740,000.

Migration is one of the hottest topics in the UK general election, which Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set for July 4.

The ONS said it was too early to know whether there was a decline
Capital inflow is the beginning of a downtrend. But it also notes that separate Home Office data shows the number of visa applications has fallen in recent months, after policy changes aimed at cutting numbers.

The fall in net migration last year occurred before such measures came into force and was partly due to increased migration as students finished their courses.

Humanity related immigration also decreased, from 160,000 in 2022 to 50,000 in 2023, due to fewer people arriving from Ukraine and Hong Kong.

The ONS said immigration is now driven by people coming to work from outside the EU, rising from 277,000 in 2022 to 423,000 in 2023.

Almost half of such arrivals are from India or Nigeria, the majority working in the health and social care sector. The number of dependents of long-term work visa holders is higher than the number of main applicants.

The ban on master’s students bringing family members begins in early 2024.

Further measures announced in December – including higher salary thresholds for skilled workers and a ban on care workers bringing dependents – came into effect in March and April .


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