LONDON: Indians made up the highest number of people — 250,000 — to immigrate to Britain in 2023. Of these, 127,000 Indians came to work and 115,000 Indians came to study, and 9,000 came for other reasons. The next largest nationality to immigrate were Nigerian (141,000), Chinese (90,000), and Pakistani (83,000).
Net migration to the UK fell 10% last year to 685,000 after hitting a record high in 2022 of 764,000, the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show.In UK, foreigners arriving to study or work are also counted in immigration numbers.
Of these, 85% were none-EU arrivals, in sharp contrast to pre-2021 when EU nationals made up the largest component of long-term immigration.
The main reason for immigration to the UK among non-EU nationals is now work, rather than study; 423,000 non-EU nationalscame to UK to work in the year ending Dec 2023, an increase of 53% from the year before when there were 277,000. Of these, 219,000 weredependant applicants and 204,000 were for main applicants, meaning the number of non-EU nationals arriving as dependants of those on long-term work visas has overtaken the number of main applicants. This is mainly due to the rise in dependants accompanying those on health and care visas. There were 279,131 visas granted to dependants of people on work visas in 2023, which was 80% higher than 2022; of these, 203,452 went to dependants of health and care workers.
According to home office stats, there were 337,240 work visas granted to main applicants in 2023, of which 146,477 were for health and care visas (91% more than the previous year when there were 76,724.) Of these, 89,236 visas were granted for care workers; 18,664 Indians received care worker visas, making them the largest recipient and over half of nurse visas (11,322) went to Indians.
A total of 114,409 graduate visas (allowing students to work after they graduate) were granted to main applicants in 2023; of these, 50,053 went to Indian nationals, making them the largest nationality. Indians also received the highest number of study visas.
More recent figures released by the home office show that the number of study visas issued to Indian nationals has started to drop — 21,800 fewer Indian nationals came to UK to study at the master’s level in the year ending March 2024 than in the previous year. This is a result of new curbs on bringing dependants that came into force in Jan.