02 Mar Brief insight into UK Immigration Statistics
On 25 February 2016 the UK Visas and Immigration released statistics covering the number of entry clearance, leave to remain and settlement applications submitted under all available visa categories.
According to the published data, there were 92,062 Tier 2 skilled work visas granted in 2015, which amounts to a 2% increase in comparison with the previous year. There was a 3% increase in sponsored visas (56,012 in total in 2015), where the UK company/sponsor had to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship. It is interesting to note that most of the increase was noted in four sectors: Information and Communication, Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities and Human Health and Social Care. Indian nationals also accounted for over half (55% or 30,900) of the total 56,012 applications.
Out of 92,062 visas, 17,375 were granted under the Tier 2 (General) Route, which showed a 14% increase in comparison to 2014. However, according to the statistics, extension applications decreased by 8% in comparison to 2014.
In terms of high value (Tier 1) visas, there were 5,401 visa applications granted in 2015, which is a 45% reduction from 2014. This dramatic fall is mostly due to the toughening of the immigration requirements for Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants and rise of the threshold of funds from £1 to £2 million for Tier 1 (Investor) applicants. It is interesting to note that there were only nine Tier 1 (Investor) visas granted in China in Q3 2015, while in the same quarter in 2014 121 visa applications were approved. Similarly, there were only eight Tier 1 (Investor) visas granted in Russia in Q3 2015, which is 81.4% decrease in comparison to Q3 2014.
On the plus side, there were 127 decisions and 122 grants of a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas (main applicants) in 2015, representing 12% of the annual limit and 135 decisions and 129 grants of Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visas (main applicants), representing 6% of the annual limit.
In light of the recent news regarding the future abolition of the Tier 1 (Investor) Scheme and increasing the threshold of the available funds for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Route, these visa categories might be closely considered by overseas applicants wishing to come to the UK.
Full Immigration statistics is available on the GOV.UK website.