The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures on net migration to the UK were released on Thursday. In the year to June 2015, the country set a new record (at least since 1970) with 330,000 more people migrating to the UK than leaving. Champagne all round!
What’s often missed is the National Insurance number (NINo) figures also released by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) at the same time. Those figures tell you the number of adults from overseas who were given permission to work.
The migration figures from the ONS show 636,000 people coming into the UK over the year. But the NINo figures show an amazing 917,000 people who were registered in the same period of time. Because of the way the DWP calculations have changed, that’s likely to be an overestimate (see below for more detail), but unlike the ONS figures, it only covers adults.
The breakdown shows that half of the 917,000 adult overseas workers registered come from just five countries, all of which are in the European Union. Here’s the breakdown:
- Romania: 169,751
- Poland: 128,448
- Italy: 64,399
- Spain: 58,623
- Bulgaria: 44,076
There’s also a huge regional gap in terms of where the migrants register for NINos. London and the South East of England make up more than half of the registrations, while the capital alone counts for 41% of them:
Here’s how the number of NINo registrations looks over time:
However, the DWP issue a warning to go with those figures, explaining why the current ones are likely to an overestimate:
“Although figures do accurately reflect the number of NINos registered over time, a change to the process of recording NINos in 2014, means that the volume of NINo registrations were lower in the year to June 2014 and then higher in the latest year to June 2015 than would otherwise be the case.”
There were 565,719 NI numbers issued to overseas nationals in the year to June 2014, against 917,000 in the year to June 2015, so it seems the first number is a little low and the second a little high.
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