17 March 2014

Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex, Conservative)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many non-EU students (a) came to the UK and (b) departed the UK in the last period for which figures are available.

Nick Hurd (The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office; Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, Conservative)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Caron Walker dated March 2014

On behalf of the Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to respond to your Parliamentary Question to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many non-EU students (a) came to the UK and (b) departed the UK in the last period for which figures are available.

The latest available provisional estimates published by ONS are for the year ending September 2013 and are based on the United Nationsdefinition of a long-term international migrant, that is, someone who changes their country of usual residence for a period of at least one year. In addition to the ONS estimates, the Home Office have published counts of study-related visas issued to non-EEA citizens in 2013.

a) How many non-EU students came to the UK?

The latest provisional estimates from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show that 124,000 non-EU citizens arrived in the UK for formal study in the year ending September 2013, with a margin of error of +/- 14,000. The margin of error refers to the 95 per cent confidence interval and is a measure of the uncertainty associated with making inferences from a sample.

HO visa and admissions data provide a more complete count for non-EEA students coming to the UK. The latest Home Office data show that there were 218,773 study-related visas issued to non-EEA nationals (including dependants, excluding student visitors) in 2013. Please note that Home Office student visa data will include some short-term migrants, who stay in the UK for less than 12 months.

b) How many non-EU students departed the UK?

Latest provisional IPS estimates show that 49,000 non-EU citizens, whose previous main reason for immigrating to the UK was formal study, emigrated from the UK in the year ending September 2013. This estimate has a margin of error of +/- 5,000. It should be noted that a person’s main reason for migration may not be their only reason for migration. A note has been published to provide guidance on interpreting previous main reason for migration estimates, particularly within the context of student migration:


(Citation: HC Deb, 17 March 2014, c468W)