UK work and study visas soar this year

The number of work-related visas granted by the UK over the past year has more than doubled while the total of sponsored study visas has reached an all-time record, the government revealed on Thursday.

chinese student in london
Figures from the Home Office showed there were 277,069 work-related visas granted in the year to March. The total included dependants and represented a 129% increase on the year to March 2021 and was 50% higher than in the pre-pandemic year to March 2020.Meanwhile, a record 466,611 sponsored study visas were granted in the 12 months to March this year, 58% more than in the year before.

Skilled visas for the UK in high demand

On work visas, the Home Office said skilled workers accounted for two-thirds of the visas granted - a substantially higher proportion that in the pre-Covid days in 2019.The data showed there were 73,400 grants for skilled worker visas and 75,963 for skilled worker health and care visas, the two categories adding up to 54% all work visas.On study visas, the Home Office said, "Each year-ending period since September 2020 has seen successive increases in sponsored study grants, with the peak seen in the current year being a continuation of this trend."This sustained increase represents both a recovery from lower numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic and an increase on the pre-pandemic period."

Most UK visas went to Chinese nationals

Most study visas went to Chinese nationals (116,967) who made up a quarter of the total. Nigerian nationals saw the largest year-on-year increase in the percentage of study visas, increasing by 49,532 (up 529%) to a record high of 58,887.

What are the UK net migration numbers?

Also on Thursday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its latest data on net migration to the UK, using a new methodology that relied less on International Passenger Survey (IPS) data and statistical modelling, and more on administrative data.Based on what the ONS described as "our current best assessment of available sources", net migration was estimated to be 239,000 in the year ending June last year, a small decrease from the 260,000 the year before.Non-EU net migration remained positive at 251,000, with 81,000 non-EU nationals emigrating compared with 332,000 arriving. Both British and EU net migration were estimated to be close to zero over the 12 months.Jay Lindop, director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS, said, "The 12 months to June 2021 was a period when migration behaviour was impacted by the restrictions imposed to manage the coronavirus pandemic, as well as ongoing changes in migration policy following Brexit."Bringing together the best sources of data we have available, our latest estimates of net migration suggest that around 239,000 more people came to the UK than left, driven by non-EU immigration."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted in the Spring 2022 issue of Think Global People.

Download the Summer 2022 Edition

Join us at the Future of Work Festival on 9 June to explore these topics further and be part of a unique experience driving innovation and collaboration for growth. Book tickets here.

Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory 

Related Articles