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Number of migrants removed from UK continues to decline


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The number of people removed from the UK by the Home Office is at its lowest level in well over a decade, new statistics show. Fewer than 7,000 migrants were recorded as leaving the UK under either an enforced or voluntary Home Office scheme in January-March 2018 — the lowest in any given quarter since 2005.

The year-on-year decline in removals is 9%.

Controversy over whether or not there were targets in place for enforced removals led to the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary in April 2018. The new data shows that the Home Office missed the quota that it eventually admitted to having. The target called for 12,800 enforced removals in 2017/18; in the event, there were 9,300. (Or perhaps 11,600, depending on which of the baffling mix of definitions you use.)

The figures also show that the volume of Brexit-related immigration applications continues to decline, with Home Office assurances perhaps, belatedly, starting to hit home.

The number of applications for EU residence documents of all kinds continues to fall, although it remains two or three times the pre-Brexit level.

Similarly, applications by EU migrants for British citizenship seem to have levelled off for now.

Less happily, the number of EU citizens in immigration detention rose again last year — even as the overall number of people detained fell. (These figures do have a health warning about changes to the data from mid-2017, but the table below should broadly reflect the trend up to the start of this year.)

The Office for National Statistics was also due to put out its high-profile quarterly immigration figures today, but issues with the quality of the data has pushed it back to 16 July.


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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.