New data is now available from the Office of National Statistics, and a lot has changed in the two years since our previous dive into this research – immigration has been a hot topic in the UK and across the globe. Many countries have established new rules and regulations, it has been an era of tumult and change for the world economy and employment prospects for many. With this in mind we thought it was time to visit the same information and see just how much has changed for those looking to seek a new life outside of the United Kingdom. Read on after the infographic to read a in-depth comparison between the two datasets.


First of all, some things haven’t changed – Australia is still a top destination for UK expats, with 8,000 more people making the journey down under compared to our previous data. This is despite a toughening up of some Visa regulations, including the 457 Temporary Worker Visa, which is popular with UK migrants. Migration to EU countries is also still a major route, with France, Spain and Portugal being amongst the top destinations. Levels of migration to New Zealand were marginally lower and the number of people who decided to make the USA or South Africa their new home both fell slightly.

Ultimately, the overall number of migrants choosing to leave the UK rose – down from 327,000 in the previous data to 321,000 in this newest set.

The reasons given for leaving have shown only minor changes since our last look. Definite job offers are still the primary driving force for those leaving the UK, having fallen a mere 1.8% to 35.8%. The ‘Looking for work’ category also declined slightly (around 3.5%), maintaining its position as the second most popular reason.

More people than before now expect to spend 4 years or more in their new home (up to 64.8% from 62.5%), an increase shared by those looking to spend 1-2 years overseas (up to 22.1% from 20.35%). The number of people expecting to stay 3-4 years and those who were unsure both fell slightly.

The vast majority of new migrants from the UK still originate from England, but while this number has fallen (to 278,000 from 297,000) the number of migrants from Scotland and Northern Ireland have both increased considerably, by 10% and 16% respectively. Migration from Wales, meanwhile, fell to 9,000 from 11,000.

Professionals and Managers are still by far the most likely type of employee to migrate, making up 37% of all new migrants, but the percentage of manual and clerical workers fell by more than 5%, suggesting that those with less qualifications may be suffering from tougher Visa requirements.

In all, the picture hasn’t changed too much, a firm offer of a job or an increased chance of work are still the most driving reasons behind the decision to migrate, and those with higher-earning jobs are the most likely to find themselves capable of taking their lives elsewhere.

To embed this infographic on your site, just copy and paste the code below: