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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Media factsheet: Immigration statistics – February 2020

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The Home Office quarterly immigration statistics were published today.

The statistics show a rise in skilled workers and international students coming to the UK. This highlights that the UK continues to be a desirable location for the brightest and best around the world.

The full breakdown of statistics can be found here.


The number of Skilled (Tier 2) work visas granted has increased, up 11% to 113,958 in 2019.

This is mainly down to people coming to work in the UK as doctors, nurses and other healthcare professions. There has been a 72% increase in applications for skilled work in the ‘Human health and social work activities’ sector*.

The number of student visas issued has increased by 19% and is at the highest level since the year ending June 2011. The majority of students (86%) are coming to study at the UK’s world leading Universities.*

The UK gave asylum, protection or another form of leave to 20,703 people in 2019. This includes 7,730 children.

Over 42,000 children have been granted asylum, protection or an alternate form of leave since the start of 2010.


The number of highly skilled visas issued has increased by 7% to 5,664.

The majority of these (59%) were to entrepreneurs, coming to start businesses in the UK

There has been a 50% increase in the number of people granted visas under the Exceptional talent route – showing the our ambition to attract the brightest and best is working.

The Exception talent route is soon due to become the Global Talent Route and includes fast-track scientist visas, which is now open for application.

Nearly 2,500 people have come under the Tier 5 ‘Seasonal Worker’ route since it opened in March 2019, and we recently announced that this would be quadrupled, to ensure agriculture farmed have the workers they need.


The number of student visas granted increased by 19% to 285,508, the highest level since the year ending June 2011.

Chinese nationals accounted for 42% of the total, more than twice the levels in 2012. Indian nationals have continued to increase since 2016, almost doubling in the latest year to 37,540 grants.

Most applications (86%) for sponsored study in the UK are for the Higher Education (university) sector, which, at 222,047 applications in the year ending September 2019, was the highest level on record.

To boost the offering of UK universities to international students further the government will open a Graduate Route for those graduating in the summer of 2021 or after. This will enable international students to work in the UK for two-years post-graduation


Visas granted for family reasons increased by 27% in 2019 to 190,973 – the highest level since the year ending September 2007.


The UK gave asylum, protection or another form of leave to 20,703 people in 2019. This number is driven by events across the globe.

4,408 people were resettled under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) in 2019. This brings the total resettled under the scheme to 19,353 (97% of the 20,000 target).

Further information about the statistics:

The statistics include quarterly and annual statistics relating to those coming to the UK, extending their stay, gaining citizenship, applying for asylum, and being detained or removed, as well as immigration for work, study and family reasons.

All figures below relate to the year ending December 2019 (unless stated otherwise)

Most data from the Immigration Statistics relate to non-EEA nationals who are subject to immigration controls.

*These statistics are as of the year ending September 2019.

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