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Britain’s foreign-born population has passed eight million for the first time, according to analysts at The Migration Observatory, University of Oxford.

Multi-ethnic group of students
With net migration at an all time high, experts suggest this landmark figure as reached last year with an influx of migrants from the EU. Previous data indicated that in 2013 there were 7.9 million people living in the UK who were born overseas.

Previous statistics showed that 2.7million of the foreign-born population were born in EU countries, while 5.2million were from nations outside the bloc. The total of 8 million indicated that one in eight people living in the UK was born abroad and was a jump of 50.7% compared to nine years earlier.
Madeleine Sumption, director of the observatory, said: “Traditionally most immigration to the UK has been of non-EU citizens. It remains the case that non-EU citizens make up a substantial share of the total, but recently the share of EU migration has approached about half of all non British migration, which is unusual by recent historical standards.”

The rate of increase in the foreign-born population has slowed in recent years – rising by 5.9% in 2011, 2.1% in 2012 and 1.3% in 2013. Expansion of the EU and the relatively fast recovery of Britain’s economy are seen as key factors in the trend Expansion of the EU and the relatively fast recovery of Britain’s economy are seen as key factors in the trend.

Talking about the rise in numbers, Manish Tiwari, Managing Director HNN said: “These recent findings should be taken positively as it is a sign that migration has contributed to revitalising the UK economy – and the perfect example of this is a place like London where the working population is ethnically diverse and businesses are doing well.

While UK’s economy has recovered faster than other EU countries, migrants have played a role in shaping the economy in various fields.”

The figures which have been released have also led to speculation of tighter immigration control as the increase in foreign-born population has been looked upon as taking away the opportunities from British citizens.

However, Mr Tiwari said: “If we are to talk about xenophobia – a lot of people fear that migrants will take away the opportunities meant for the British citizens. However, legal migrants as stated earlier not only contribute to the workforce but also create more opportunities by increasing the output and thereby helping the economy on the road to recovery. Companies like Lebara are the perfect testament to growth based on migrant contribution to economy.”