Immigration statistics show small drop in net migration

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The Office for National Statistics has published quarterly immigration statistics showing the 12 month period up to December 2011.

The ONS reports the headline statistics as:

Estimated total long-term immigration to the UK in the year to December 2011 was 566,000. This compares to 591,000 in the year to December 2010 and has remained broadly at a similar level since 2004
Estimated total long-term emigration from the UK in the year to December 2011 was 350,000. This compares to 339,000 in the year to December 2010

Estimated net migration was 216,000 in the year to December 2011. This is lower, but is not a statistically significant difference, from 252,000 in the year to December 2010
Study remains the most common reason for migrating to the UK estimated at 232,000 in the year to December 2011. This is similar to 238,000 in the year to December 2010
In the year to June 2012 there were 282,833 visas issued for the purpose of study (including student visitors), a fall of 21% compared with the previous 12 months
601,000 National Insurance numbers (NINos) were allocated to non-UK nationals in the year to March 2012, a decrease of 15 per cent on the year to March 2011
147,385 work-related visas were issued in the year to June 2012, a fall of 7 per cent compared to the previous 12 months

Excluding visitor and transit visas, the number of visas issued fell 16% to 519,730 in the year ending June 2012 (compared with 616,184 in the previous 12 months), to the lowest 12-monthly total recorded using comparable data available from 2005.

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