Theresa May: Change is in the air
UK PM Theresa May has cracked down hard on immigration in Britain.Reuters

Net immigration to the UK from June 2015 to 2016 was similar to the previous year, according to official figures released on Thursday.

According to the Office of National Statistics, 284,000 EU citizens moved to the UK upto June, which is more than 265,000 in the previous 12 months. However, according to the Independent, 189,000 EU citizens migrated to Britain along with 196,000 non-EU citizens, while 49,000 British citizens left. 

Total immigration also increased by 11,000 since 2015 and stands at 650,000 — highest record ever. These numbers don't record Britishers who moved abroad.  

The experts at Office for National Statistics did not reveal if the EU referendum had anything to do with the data. However, they added that there was no significant impact in immigration till the time the referendum took place. 

"Net migration remains around record levels, but it is stable compared with recent years," one ONS statistician said. 

"Immigration levels are now among the highest estimates recorded - the inflow of EU citizens is also at historically high levels and similar to the inflow of non-EU citizens; there were also increases in the number of asylum seekers and refugees. Immigration of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens continues the upward trend seen over the last few years and in 2015 Romania was the most common country of previous residence. The main reason people are coming to the UK is for work, and there has been a significant increase in people looking for work particularly from the EU," the statistician said. 

The ONS said that a similar number of EU and non-EU members are migrating while earlier non-EU numbers were higher. 

Long-term migration had been one of the main topics of debate during the Brexit referendum. 

How does the ONS calculate migration to the UK? 

The International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates migration flows – that is people entering and leaving the UK by interviewing a sample of passengers travelling through the main entry and exit points from the UK including airports, seaports and the Channel Tunnel.

Students are also counted during the IPS. Why? 

They use the United Nations definition to make sure their figures are internationally comparable. The UN definition of a migrant is someone who changes their country of residence for a period of one year or more. As many educational courses last longer than a year, that definition obviously includes many students. Net migration figures are used by ONS to calculate the size of the UK population in any given year and they include international students since they contribute to population growth. These population figures are used by national and local government to inform their planning and removing any key group would have consequences for this.

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