LONDON: Indians are the largest migrant group from outside the European Union (EU) to settle in the UK but the overall migration in the country has fallen over the last one year, according to latest data released today.
The UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 305,000 people born in India are estimated to have moved to the UK between July 2016 and June 2017, making India the most common migrant nationality in the country after EU countries of Poland, Romania and the Republic of Ireland.
Overall, the ONS data found that net migration to the UK had fallen by 106,000 to hit 230,000 during the one-year period, reflecting the first major decline since the EU referendum in favour of Brexit in June 2016.
"The decline follows historically high levels of immigration and it is too early to say whether this represents a long-term trend," said Nicola White, head of migration statistics at the ONS.
"These changes suggest that Brexit is likely to be a factor in people's decision to move to or from the UK Â– but decisions to migrate are complex and other factors are also going to be influencing the figures," she added.
The number of non-EU citizens leaving the UK has remained stable over the past year but the number of EU citizens leaving the UK has increased by almost a third, a trend that has been classified as "Brexodus" by a section of the UK media.
The figures show that the number of EU citizens leaving the UK rose by 29 per cent to 123,000, with 43,000 saying they were returning home.
This is the highest level of EU emigration from Britain since the 2008 recession.
Net migration is the difference between people coming to the UK for more than a year, and the number of people leaving the UK for a year or more.
In the 12-month period of July 2016 and June 2017, 572,000 people arrived in the UK, and 342,000 emigrated.
Immigration specifically fell by 80,000 people over the year- and three-quarters of that drop was down to fewer EU citizens coming to live in the UK.
The ONS figures also show that the number of people coming to the UK for a definite job has remained stable but those coming to "look for work", especially EU citizens, was down by 43 per cent.
The ONS said the latest fall on the previous year's net migration figure was the largest annual decrease recorded, substantially down on its high of June 2016 and now at similar levels to 2014.
The numbers coming to Britain to study as overseas students also fell by 23,000 to 141,000 Â– the majority from outside the EU.
The UK's Conservative party government has pledged to reduce net annual migration to the "tens of thousands" and the latest figures were welcomed by ministers.
UK immigration minister Brandon Lewis said that while net migration had fallen by 106,000, the increasing proportion of those coming to confirmed jobs highlighted that the system is "delivering for business needs in the UK".
Opposition Labour party said the figures showed it was time for the Tories to drop their "meaningless" target of reducing net migration below 100,000.