Non-EU Immigration - Main Points

The below summary was last updated October 2019

  • The non-EU born population has increased by just under two million since 2004. It now stands at nearly six million.
  • Annual non-EU net migration has more than doubled, from 89,000 in 1997 to 214,000 in 2018.
  • Nearly half (49%) of non-EU born residents (or some four million people) say they came to the UK for family-related reasons.
  • Indeed, the family stream is the largest non-EU immigration visa route leading to permanent residence.
  • The non-EU migration stream includes migrants from a mix of countries who exhibit very different economic characteristics.
  • There is a considerable body of research on the fiscal impact of immigration and all analysis suggests that non-EU immigrants in the UK are costing the UK taxpayer many billions every year.
  • In 2018, Dame Louise Casey warned the government that the UK was ‘sleepwalking into an increasingly segregated country’. About 60% of the public wish to see a reduction in immigration.
  • The public are more concerned to see reductions in levels of non-EU, rather than EU, immigration, according to research by the LSE.
  • During the 2017 General Election, the government made a promise to ‘bear down’ on non-EU immigration.
  • Yet, in their current form, their post-Brexit immigration proposals carry a serious risk of increasing it.
  • Non-EU net migration may have been overcounted by up to 20% in recent years. This results from uncertainties surrounding the accuracy of the International Passenger Survey.

Non-EU Immigration Research


Over the 23 years that Migration Watch UK has been working in this field we have produced many papers.

View Non-EU Immigration Library