UK Immigration

The United Kingdom is one of the world’s top immigration destinations.

Sustained immigration to the United Kingdom has made the UK a multicultural country where 14% (9.5 million people) of its over 67 million residents are foreign-born.

In London, the national capital and largest city in the UK, 37% of its 9 million residents were born overseas and more than 300 languages are spoken. In fact, about 35% of all immigrants living in the UK live in the greater London metropolitan area.

England has the largest percentage of foreign-born residents (15.5 percent of England’s population), followed by Scotland (9.3 percent), Northern Ireland (7.0 percent) and Wales (6.5 percent).

According to British Government statistics (published February 21, 2021), there were 125,176 UK visas issued during 2020 to foreign workers and their families through various UK immigration programs.

The UK Government also reported (February 21, 2021) that 232,191 student visas were granted in 2020 to international students and their dependents.

Examples of UK immigration programs include the Skilled Worker Visa, Global Talent Visa, Health and Care Worker Visa, and Intra-Company Visa. 

The House of Commons Migration Statistics Report (April 27, 2021) reveals that 3.3 million of the 9.5 million immigrants living in the UK are British citizens.

The same report also states that 3.5 million citizens of the European Union (EU) are living in the UK.

In 2019, the top 10 EU countries with the most citizens living in the UK (not counting British citizens) were #1 Poland, #2 Romania, #3 Ireland, #4 Germany, #5 Italy, #6 France, #7 Lithuania, #8 Portugal, #9 Spain, and #10 Bulgaria.

According to the British Office of National Statistics (ONS), the top countries of birth for immigrants living in the UK during 2019 were: #1 India (863,000 or 9.1% of foreign-born), #2 Poland (818,000 or 8.6% of foreign-born), #3 Pakistan (547,000 or 5.8% of foreign-born), #4 Romania (427,000 or 4.5% of foreign-born), #5 Ireland (360,000 or 3.8% of foreign-born), #6 Germany (289,000 or 3.0% of foreign-born), #7 Bangladesh (260,000 or 2.7% of foreign-born), #8 South Africa (252,000 or 2.7% of foreign-born), #9 Italy (233,000 or 2.5% of foreign-born), and #10 China (217,000 or 2.3% of foreign-born).

Among the benefits enjoyed by skilled foreign workers living in the United Kingdom are:

  • permission to work in the UK;
  • the option to bring a spouse/partner and children under 18 years of age to also live in the UK (with the relevant British visas);
  • access to the National Health Service (NHS) after the Immigration Health Surcharge has been paid;
  • the opportunity to attend high-quality education programs in the UK;
  • living in a democracy where there is freedom and equality;
  • being able to visit points of interest in the UK;
  • traveling to and from the United Kingdom;
  • the option to apply for permanent settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK after 5 years of legal residence and meeting other criteria; and
  • the possibility of becoming a British citizen after living in the United Kingdom 12 months with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status and meeting all of the eligibility requirements.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided is general information that is not and shall not be considered legal advice. The website is an informative website and not a substitute for legal advice or for the advice of an attorney. Furthermore, the UK immigration regulations may change frequently and we try our best to keep the information accurate and up to date, however, we cannot guarantee as to the accuracy of the information. The use of the Website and services are subject to our Terms of Use.