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21 April 1926 to 8 September 2022
Published 26 May 2022
© Crown copyright 2022
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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2022/how-many-people-continue-their-stay-in-the-uk-or-apply-to-stay-permanently
Back to ‘Immigration statistics, year ending March 2022’ content page.
Data relate to the year ending March 2022 and most comparisons are with the year ending March 2020 (two years previous, reflecting a comparison with the period prior to the Covid-pandemic). All data include dependents, unless indicated otherwise.
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. A range of restrictions were implemented in many parts of the world, and the first UK lockdown measures were announced on 23 March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK immigration system, both in terms of restricting migrant movements to and from the UK and the impact on operational capacity.
Year ending comparisons that follow will reflect the restrictions in place during this period of the pandemic.
This section contains data on:
There were 401,963 decisions on applications to extend a person’s stay in the UK (including both main applicants and dependants) in the year ending March 2022, 57% more than in the year ending March 2021, and 33% more than in the year ending March 2020. This excludes extensions granted to individuals who were unable to leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19 (see below).
Of the total extensions, 393,691 were grants, representing an overall grant rate of 98%.
Table 1: Grants by reason1,2 and refusals of extensions of temporary stay in the UK
Source: Extensions – Exe_D01
Work extensions increased by 83% with 197,786 extensions granted in the year ending March 2022 and was the most common route in which people extended. The increase mainly reflected an increase in extensions granted to Skilled workers, which increased by 51,449 (or +56%) to 142,591. Applicants requiring extensions for skilled work must obtain a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) from a registered employer. Sponsorship table CoS_D01 provides numbers of main applicants for different industry sectors. These data show that in the year ending March 2022, almost a third (32%) of sponsored Skilled worker extension applications were in the Human Health and Social Work Activities sector.
Other work visas and exemptions increased by 37,018 to 46,687 mainly reflecting 33,682 extensions granted in the new Graduate category. Indian, Nigerian and Chinese nationals accounted for over a half (58%) of grants in this route. The Graduate route, introduced on 1st July 2021, allows eligible students to stay in the UK for a period of 2 or 3 years after successfully completing their studies to work or look for work.
The High value category included 2,374 grants in the year ending March 2022 under the Global talent route, an increase of 936 (65%) on the previous year.
The largest number of work-related extensions were granted to Indian nationals in the year (43% of the total).
There were 129,103 family-related grants of extensions in the year ending March 2022, 35% more than in the previous year and 18% more than in the year ending March 2020. In the year ending March 2022, grants in the Family: Partner route were 67,603, 48% (+22,023) higher than in the year ending March 2020. The number of grants in the Family Life (10-year) route was 60,278, 4% (or -2,776) fewer than in the year ending March 2020. Pakistani, Nigerian and Indian nationals accounted for nearly two in five (39%) family-related extensions granted, a similar proportion to recent years.
There were also 32,170 study-related extensions granted in the year ending March 2022, 29% fewer than in the year ending March 2020. The nationalities most likely to extend their stay for further study in the UK are broadly consistent with the nationalities granted student visas, with Chinese nationals accounting for a quarter (26% or 8,339).
Grants in the Other category increased by 132% to 34,632 in the year ending March 2022. The increase in the Other category is due to 19,842 extensions granted, including dependants, in the new British Nationals (Overseas) (BN(O)) route in the year ending March 2022. The BN(O) route accounted for over a half (57%) of extension grants in the Other category in the year ending March 2022. The Other category excludes extensions granted to individuals who were unable to leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19.
On the 31 March 2020, as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced that NHS frontline workers visas would be extended. On 29 April 2020, it was announced that other frontline health and care workers would also receive visa extensions. Healthcare professionals whose visas were due to expire between 31 March 2020 and 1 October 2020 were given a free, year-long extension. On 20 November, it was announced that this had been extended to cover visas expiring between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021. On 09 April it was announced that this would be extended to cover visas expiring up until 30 September 2021. Home Office Management Information indicates that up to the end of March 2022, there was a total of 19,910 extensions granted to health workers and care workers and their dependants, under these policies.
Figure 1: Extensions of leave granted1 in the UK, by month, 2020, 2021 and 2022
Source: Extensions – Exe_D01 and underlying data
Figure 1 shows that the shows that the number of grants of extensions fell sharply following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Numbers began to recover from September 2020.
Other than October and November, grants in 2021 were higher than the same months in the previous two years. The number of grants overall in 2022 are at similar levels to the same months in 2021. This subsequent recovery in numbers may in part be linked to the move of visa processing from an operation requiring physical presence in the office to one that can be, to a large extent, now delivered through remote working.
There were 111,760 decisions on applications for settlement in the UK in the year ending March 2022, almost one fifth (18%) more than in the year ending March 2020. Of these, 110,145 (99%) were granted.
In the latest year, there were increases in settlement grants in the work, family and other categories but fewer to applicants who had been asylum seekers.
There was an increase in grants of settlement for family reasons, to 38,657, 48% more than in the year ending March 2020. Grants had previously fallen from a peak of 75,852 in the year ending March 2010 to 4,939 in the year ending September 2017, partly reflecting the change in the probationary period for settlement from 2 to 5 years, as well as falling levels of visas and extensions in previous years. The number of grants have subsequently increased as individuals on a 5-year route to settlement following the rule change are now becoming eligible to apply (further information about the rules changes are available at: ‘Family and private life immigration rule changes 9 July 2012’
Other changes include:
Table 2: Grants by reason1,2,3 and refusals of settlement in the UK
Source: Settlement – Se_D02
Figure 2: Grants of settlement in the UK, by reason1, years ending March 2013 to March 2022
Source: Settlement – Se_D02
Figure 2 shows the number of settlement grants fell from 140,000 in the year ending March 2013 to 59,000 in the year ending March 2017 but have since risen again, reaching a total of 110,000 in the year ending March 2022.
Since the year ending March 2013, grants of settlement for work reasons have decreased, from 61,000 to 28,000. Grants for family reasons also fell across this period, from 55,000 to 39,000. In contrast, grants for reasons of asylum increased from 15,000 to 29,000. Grants for ‘other’ reasons (not relating to work, family or asylum) increased from 9,000 to 15,000 over the period. Trends in numbers applying for settlement will in part reflect policies and patterns of migration some years earlier.
Figure 3: Grants of settlement in the UK, by month, 2020, 2021 and 2022
Source: Settlement – Se_D02 and underlying data
Figure 3 shows that the number of settlement grants fell significantly at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the beginning of restrictions in the UK. From April 2020, UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) temporarily closed, there was a temporary pause of postal routes, and the processing operation moved from one focused on physical presence in the office to one that can be, to a large extent, delivered through remote working.
From May 2020, the number of grants generally started to recover again as caseworkers became able to fully operate remotely whilst a minimal office presence processed physical documents within ‘Covid secure’ parameters.
From September 2020 to August 2021, grants of settlement were higher compared with the same month the previous year. Grants in December 2021 were at a similar level to December 2019. Grants in 2021 were 24% higher than in 2020 and 16% higher than in 2019. Grants were at a similar level in January and February 2022 but much higher in March 2022 compared to the same months in the previous year.
Since 30 March 2019, EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens resident in the UK by the end of the transition period at 11pm on 31 December 2020, and their family members, have been able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK.
The Home Office publishes monthly updates and quarterly statistics on the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) on GOV.UK.
The latest quarterly statistics show that 6.5 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme had been received up to 31 March 2022, of which 6.3 million had been concluded.
Of the 6.5 million applications made, 10% of applications were from repeat applicants (658,710). This indicates that an estimated 5.83 million people had applied to the scheme by the end of March 2022, of which 5.4 million were from EEA and Swiss nationals and approximately 422,400 from non-EEA nationals.
Further information and detailed breakdowns of EUSS applications and their conclusions can be found in the latest quarterly EUSS statistical release.
Under European (EU) law, EEA nationals and their family members did not need to obtain documentation confirming their right of residence in the UK but EEA nationals could apply for registration certificates and documents certifying permanent residence in the UK. Their non-EEA family members could apply for residence cards and permanent residence cards. These acted as confirmation of their right to stay in the UK.
Documents issued under EU law are no longer valid as evidence of a right of residence in the UK, however applications received by 31 December 2020 are still being processed. More information is available on the relevant visas and immigration pages on GOV.UK.
In the year ending March 2022, there were a total of 1,446 decisions on applications for EEA residence documents, four percent of the number in the previous year. This included 867 registration certificates and registration cards issued, and 184 documents certifying permanent residence and permanent residence cards issued.
Table 3: Decisions on applications for residence documents pertaining to EEA citizens in the UK1,2
Source: Table EEA_01
There were 180,493 applications for British citizenship in the year ending March 2022, 9% more than in the year ending March 2020.
Applications for citizenship by EU nationals were 21% higher than in the year ending March 2020.
There were 127,125 applications for citizenship made by non-EU nationals, 5% higher than the year ending March 2020.
Figure 4 shows that the number of non-EU applications has remained broadly stable since 2014, whilst EU applications increased up to mid-2021. EU nationals accounted for almost a third (30%) of all citizenship applications in the latest year compared to 12% in 2016. Increases in citizenship applications from EU nationals since 2016 are likely to reflect people seeking to confirm their status in the UK following the EU referendum and the UK’s exit from the EU.
Figure 4: Number of applications for British citizenship from EU and non-EU nationals1,2, years ending March 2013 to March 2022
Source: Citizenship detailed dataset Cit_D01
There were 196,085 grants of British citizenship in the year ending March 2022, 20% more than in the year ending March 2020. This increase comes after a period of relative stability since 2014. The recent peak of 208,095 in 2013 occurred prior to a change to the English language element of the ‘Life in the UK’ test.
Figure 5: Number of grants of British citizenship for EU and non-EU nationals1,2, years ending March 2013 to March 2022
Source: Citizenship detailed datasets – Cit_D02
Around one third (34%, or 67,299) of the grants of British citizenship in the year ending March 2022 were to former EU citizens, 21,269 or 46% more than in the year ending March 2020. Italian nationals were the top EU nationality granted citizenship in the latest year (11,298), followed by Romanian (9,721), and Polish (9,385) nationals.
There were 128,786 grants of British citizenship to former non-EU citizens in the year ending March 2022, 11,192 or 10% more than in the year ending March 2020. The top non-EU nationalities granted British citizenship in the latest year were Indian (15,987), Pakistani (15,015), and Nigerian (8,968) nationals. These three nationalities accounted for almost a third (31%) of all grants to non-EU nationals in the year ending March 2022.
The number of grants of citizenship for registration of children of former EU citizens rose by 56% compared with the year ending March 2020. For former non-EU citizens the 29,613 grants in the year ending March 2022 was 9% higher than the year ending March 2020.
Table 4: Grants by reason1 and refusals of citizenship applications
Source: Citizenship detailed datasets – Cit_D02 and underlying data
1. ‘Other’ includes Entitlement and Discretionary registration as an adult, Entitlement and Discretionary registration on other grounds, and registration under Section 5 of the British Nationality Act 1981. See the user guide for more details.
2. Total grants for year ending March 2021 includes one Unknown case, so the categories will not add up to the total.
On 28 May 2020 the Home Office published a statistical overview of COVID-19 impacts on the immigration system through to the end of April 2020, including citizenship processing.
Since that time, there have been further changes. As shown in Figure 6, the number of citizenship grants in Q2 of 2022 (January to March) has increased to pre-pandemic levels. The number of grants fell significantly following the onset of the pandemic to 2,291 in the month of April 2020, and remained below pre-pandemic numbers until March 2021. From Q2 2021 (April-June) onwards, the number of grants has been higher than both the comparable months in 2020.
Figure 6: Grants of British citizenship, by month, 2020, 2021 and 2022
Source: Citizenship detailed datasets Cit_D02 and underlying data
The statistics in this section refer to individuals who have leave to remain in the UK who wish to extend, or make permanent, their right to remain in the UK.
Before 2021, due to the application to the UK of European Union (EU) free movement law, the majority of UK immigration control related to non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals. From 2021, unless otherwise stated, data in this release relate to both EEA and non-EEA nationals.
Data in this section should be viewed in the context of wider policy and legislative changes, which can impact the number of applications and decisions. They should also consider the availability and allocation of resources within the Home Office, which can affect the number of decisions made in a given period. For example, fewer citizenship decisions were made in 2015 when UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) resources were used to assist HM Passport Office.
The statistics should not be used to make inferences about the size of the non-British population in the UK. The data do not show whether, or for how long, an individual remains in the UK once their right to remain has been extended or made permanent. Statistics on resident foreign populations in the UK are published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Extensions of temporary stay in the UK relate to individuals inside the UK extending or changing the status of their right to stay in the UK. An individual is required to apply for an extension or change in status before their existing permission to enter or stay in the UK expires.
The statistics in this section show the number of grants and refusals in a given year on applications for extension of temporary stay in the UK. One individual may have made multiple applications for an extension, so may account for multiple decisions in a given period. Data in this section include dependants and take account of the outcomes of reconsiderations and appeals.
The statistics do not show the number of people applying to extend their temporary stay in the UK, nor do they show how long an individual stayed in the UK following their extension.
The statistics in the previous immigration category of students granted an extension were estimated for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Data for 2017 are unaffected.
Further information on the statistics in this section can be found in the extension section of the user guide.
Settlement can be granted to individuals – subject to immigration control – to allow them to work, study and travel into and out of the UK without restriction. To be granted settlement, individuals generally must have lived in the UK for a certain length of time in a qualifying category. Those granted settlement can access state benefits and register their UK-born children as British citizens. It does not entitle the individual to a British passport (which requires British citizenship) or to vote in a general election (which requires British, Commonwealth, or Irish Republic citizenship).
The statistics in this section show the number of grants and refusals in a given year on applications for settlement in the UK. They take account of the outcomes of reconsiderations and appeals.
The data on settlement refusals relate to cases where settlement was refused and no other form of leave was granted. Cases where settlement was refused but an extension was granted instead (for example where an individual has not met the qualifying period for settlement) will not be included in the refusal figure.
Individuals who leave the UK for more than 2 years may have their settlement status revoked, except in exceptional circumstances. The statistics do not differentiate between those granted settlement for the first time and those granted settlement multiple times.
Documents issued under EU law are no longer valid as evidence of a right of residence in the UK. Applications received by 31 December 2020 and the outcomes of appeals are still being processed.
The EU Settlement Scheme enables EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK by the end of the transition period at 11pm on 31 December 2020, and their family members, to obtain a UK immigration status. Further information about the EU Settlement Scheme can be found at Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status). The scheme is a simple digital system which enables applicants to obtain, free of charge, settled status or pre-settled status in the UK. Find out more about what settled and pre-settled status mean.
The statistics in this section show the number of registration certificates and registration cards issued, and the number of documents certifying permanent residence and permanent residence cards issued in relation to applications made by 31 December 2020.
After 12 November 2015, a person applying for citizenship who was relying on permanent residence as an EEA national, or as the family member of an EEA national, was required to provide a permanent residence card or a document certifying permanent residence as evidence that they met the requirement to be free of immigration time restrictions. This change, along with EEA nationals’ response to perceived uncertainty following the 2016 EU referendum, is likely to have contributed to the steep increase in demand for EEA residence documentation during 2016 and 2017.
Variations in numbers of decisions can be affected by changes in resources and the mix of cases, as well as policy changes and application levels in earlier periods.
More information about applying for residence documentation and how the status of EU citizens in the UK will be secured now the UK has left the EU is available on the GOV.UK website at Browse: Visas and immigration
Figures on applications received and cases currently outstanding in the European casework route (along with other information such as percentage processed within service standards) can be found in ‘In-country migration data’ on GOV.UK.
British citizens can live and work in the UK free of any immigration controls. They can apply for a British passport, register to vote in all forms of election and referenda, and share in all the other rights and responsibilities of their status.
Dual citizenship (also known as dual nationality) is allowed in the UK. This means people can be a British citizen and a citizen of other countries.
If someone is not already a British citizen based on where and when they were born, or their parents’ circumstances, they can apply to become one.
The statistics in this section show the number of applications for British citizenship. Data on the number of grants of citizenship are available in the associated data tables.
In May 2021, the Home Office published the ‘Migrant journey: 2020 report’, which explores changes in non-EEA migrants’ visa and leave status as they journey through the UK’s immigration system.
Data referred to here can be found in the following tables:
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