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1040 Abroad

Amid Travel Restrictions, Latest Stats Reveal Drop in US to UK Immigration

With ongoing restrictions on travel between the US and UK, the latest data shows fewer Americans moved to live in the UK during 2019/20

Published on November 30, 2020

Covid Mask Waiting Airport Photo: Anna Shvets

The UK Government has published its latest immigration data for the year ending September 2020, and as expected with the ongoing restrictions on travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of Americans seeking work in the UK has fallen sharply. However, numbers showed signs of a partial recovery during Q3 2020, post-lockdown.

Based on entry clearance data, during Q2 2020, amid the UK's nationwide lockdown, just 89 Americans were cleared for visas to live/work in the UK. The small number can be explained by widespread disruption not only in travel, but also in government immigration departments, as staff worked from home and many services were suspended. During Q3, 10157 Americans were cleared, suggesting no substantial loss of appetite for Americans to live and work in the UK, even the number was a marked reduction on Q3 2019, which saw 17290 Americans cleared for a UK visa.

Of those Americans who were cleared for a visa in Q3 2020, 2562 were applying to work in the UK, while 6504 were applying to study, and 511 were applying for a family visa.

Despite the Q2 lockdown, the number of Americans applying for British citizenship remained steady throughout 2020, with 925 applying to become a UK Citizen in Q1 2020, 701 in Q2 and 1239 in Q3.

2020 has also seen a substantial drop in the number of people traveling to the UK as visitors. The UK experienced a 96.2% drop in the number of visitors arriving during Q2. Travel from North America to the UK between April and June 2020 dropped by 97% from the previous year, according to the Office of National Statistics' provisional data.

The UK recently announced a reduced quarantine period for international arrivals in the hope of boosting the number of overseas residents traveling to the UK. The US has also recently launched a quarantine-free travel corridor with Italy. This follows work by several Transatlantic airlines to step up Covid-19 testing on board US-UK flights.

To see the latest data from the UK Government on immigration, go to www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-september-2020. For data from the Official of National Statistics on UK tourism, go to www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/leisureandtourism/bulletins/overseastravelandtourism/apriltojune2020.

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