(LONDON) ONS REPORT: Impact of #coronavirus #COVID19) on international migration after numbers have fallen from 271,000 in 2020 to around 34,000 this year #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Nov.26: In 2020, the #coronavirus #COVID19 #pandemic impacted on people’s ability to migrate to other countries. Governments around the world introduced policies and restrictions in response to the pandemic; air travel to and from the UK dropped by 95% in the early months. As a result, UK immigration and emigration patterns were very different to past trends.

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says here is the ONS Health News Report: This bulletin focuses on long-term international migration. For consistency, we have continued to use the UN definition of a long-term migrant: a person who moves to a country other than that of his or her usual residence for at least a year…..

Development of migration statistics

However, we acknowledge that the UN definition has its limits when applied to the extremely unusual circumstances of 2020, when it was very difficult for people to make definite plans. People may have wished to migrate to or from the UK but found themselves prevented from doing so by border restrictions.

Since the pandemic there is increasing interest in who is resident in the country at any given point in time. In a society where people are increasingly mobile, the definitions we currently use are becoming less useful for some purposes. Therefore, we are exploring how we can use alternative definitions of international migration alongside the UN definition in future. In 2022, we will consult users on which definitions would best meet their needs.

Impact of Brexit on international migration

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 and was in a “transition period” until 31 December 2020. During the transition period, the UK continued to be part of the customs union and the single market, and people could migrate between the UK and the EU without needing a visa.

The extent and nature of the impact of Brexit upon people’s migration decisions during 2020 is currently unknown.

Overview of migration statistics transformation

Traditionally, the International Passenger Survey (IPS) was the main source for estimating international migration to and from the UK. However, we had long acknowledged that the IPS had been stretched beyond its original purpose and that we needed to consider all available sources to understand international migration.

In March 2020, the IPS was suspended because of the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In response, we have accelerated our work to transform how migration is measured and are moving towards producing administrative data-based migration estimates, supported by statistical modelling. While the IPS resumed operation in January 2021, the decision was taken and announced in the August 2020 Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR) that going forward we would continue to focus on developing methods for measuring international migration using administrative data and statistical modelling, given the limitations of the IPS.

This bulletin forms part of a suite of international migration releases:

The results of Census 2021 will also be published next year. These will help us further understand the quality of the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS’) published migration estimates.!

These are the latest official estimates of international migration. However, they are derived from statistical modelling, entail a level of uncertainty, and are therefore badged as experimental. Back to table of contents

8. Measuring the data


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is developing methods for estimating UK international migration for 2020 and beyond. We previously reported on our methods in the methodology working paper: Using statistical modelling to estimate UK international migration, published April 2021.

We continue to use a time series approach to model international migration during Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2020. Detail on our original assumptions and methods is available in Section 8 of the Methodology Working Paper.

Modelled estimates for Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 2020 are provisional and subject to revision, as our models develop, and more data becomes available. Estimates for March and Quarter 2 2020 in this statistical bulletin have been revised in the light of data updates since April 2021. 

As before, we used a Delphi approach to gather expert opinion on our model assumptions and modelled estimates. We invited experts to give their views on our assumptions and to provide any other evidence that we should consider in our models.

For non-EU migration the experts were in favour of our modelled approach for Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 and revisions to March and Quarter (Apr to June) 2 2020. For EU and British migration, in the absence of alternative timely data, we continue to model immigration and emigration using non-EU migration trends based on Home Office Exit Checks data. For EU we have incorporated an additional adjustment to the model using the ratio of EU and non-EU IPS data. For British we model immigration (repatriation) using non-EU departure data, and vice-versa.

For Quarter 2 2020 we applied a travel options adjustment to reflect the different travel behaviours of non-EU and EU migrants. This considered increased opportunities for EU migrants to come to the UK or return home than non-EU migrants, given the continued operation of cross-channel travel services when air travel was virtually halted from April 2020. We have implemented the experts’ suggestion to turn off this adjustment from July 2020, when the proportion of cross-Channel travel (rail and ferry) reduced as air travel resumed near normal proportions.

Data revisions

The figures published in this bulletin are based on experimental statistical modelling. We will continue to develop and update our models for international migration. We are currently exploring the use of Home Office data on European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and Department for Work and Pensions Registration and Population Interaction Database (RAPID) and other data sources. We aim to introduce RAPID data to improve modelled estimates of EU migration for provisional data covering 2021 Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 published by March 2022. At the same time, we anticipate revisions to 2020 Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 to account for this new data source. More information on our progress towards bringing together provisional modelled and observed estimates of migration using administrative data sources, and our future approach to revisions will be published in our statistical design article.Back to table of contents

#AceHealthDesk report …………Published: Nov.26: 2021:

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