Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Why Has India-UK Migration Decreased So Rapidly?

Singhal, Neer (2018): Why Has India-UK Migration Decreased So Rapidly?

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Net migration in the UK increased from less than 100,000 per year in the early 1990s to over 300,000 in 2006. However, by 2016, the net migration in the UK had dropped to 248,000.

This trend is visible in India-UK migration specifically - immigration from India increased until 2012 but has since declined dramatically. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of Indians emigrating to the UK decreased from 1,500,000 to 325,000 – an average decline of 39.9% per year

There are 3 primary causes that led to this decline in India-UK migration: 1. Increased British government immigration stringency 2. Improved quality of life and standard of living in India 3. Decrease of Indian students in the UK

Firstly, the British government have tried to restrict immigration. They have increased the immigrant wage threshold and initiated the points based system. In this way, they have reduced the number of low skilled workers, making it virtually impossible for low skilled workers to permanently or semi-permanently immigrate. Improvements in India, both in the workplace and in general well-being, have led to a decrease in Indian emigrants migrating to the UK. Unemployment rates in India are low and phenomena such as the ‘reverse brain drain’ suggest India may be on the verge of rapid productivity and employment opportunities.

Finally, the number of International students in the UK has dropped below the number of immigrant workers. This is because the government has made it more difficult for international students to study in the UK. Furthermore, the rapidly increasing range of countries that are welcoming international students has resulted in the movement of Indian students across the world rather than just the UK and US.

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