LONDON: The number of Indians migrating to the UK dropped by a significant 10 per cent last year compared with the 2016 figures, according to the data released here today.
The UK's Office of National Statistics (ONS) data showed that Indian nationals continued to dominate the skilled migrant force of the country, with over half of all skilled work visas last year going to Indians.
It found that while Indians continued to account for the largest migrant group from outside the European Union (EU), the numbers were 10 per cent lower in 2017 when compared with 2016.
The data is based on compulsory National Insurance number registrations made by both short and long-term migrants to Britain.
NINo [National Insurance No] registrations, from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), are for all nationalities and include both short and long-term migrants they can provide useful insights into trends of different nationalities, the ONS said.
There were 32 NINo registrations by Indians last year, followed by 12 from Pakistan, 11 from Australia and China and 10 from the US as the top five non-EU nationalities coming to live in Britain in 2017.
The data stated that study visas also showed a high percentage of Indians coming to study at UK universities, with China, the US and India collectively accounting for over half (53 per cent) of the study-related visas granted in 2017.
The largest number of visas were granted to Chinese nationals 88,456 or 40 per cent of the total with Indians getting 14,445.
The figure marks a 28 per cent hike in student visas granted to Indians last year, compared with the previous year.
The statistics also indicate a Brexit impact on the flow of migrants to the country, with the number of EU citizens leaving the UK at its highest level.
It estimates that 220,000 EU nationals came to live in the UK last year which is 47,000 fewer than 2016, the year of the referendum in favour of Britain's exit from the economic bloc.
Net EU migration stood at 90,000 in 2017, the lowest for five years.
"Brexit could well be a factor in people's decision to move to or from the UK, but people's decision to migrate is complicated and can be influenced by lots of different reasons," said Nicola White, head of international migration statistics at the ONS.
Net migration the difference between migrants coming in and leaving the country is estimated to have fallen by 29,000 to 244,000 last year, a figure which is still well short of the UK government's target to reduce net migration to below 100,000 annually.
Opposition parties in Britain have attacked the annual migration cap as unrealistic and attacked the Tory government for creating a "hostile" environment for migrants in the country.