UK statistics highlight tight visa application process

Published: 02/09/2009

The latest immigration statistics have been released by the Office of National Statistics, in conjunction with the UK Border and Immigration department.

The annual figures highlight all the changing trends of migration to the UK, including applications for spouses, partners and their dependants. The report, published by the Home Office also covers migration from Eastern Europe, asylum applications and details of deportation. The facts and figures that relate to settlement class marriage and partner visas and all other applications highlight a downward trend in positive applications.

Of a total of 374,375 all class extension applications filed from inside the UK, 72 per cent are visa extensions, 21 per cent are settlement or family class applications with the remaining eight per cent of cases resulting in refusal.

The statistics shows that onshore spousal and partner visa applications (further leave to remain applications based on marriage or partnership with a British citizen or lawful permanent resident) are down 11 per cent from 2007, to a total of 26,290. Eight per cent of that figure is 2,103, which is a large number of unsuccessful marriage visa applicants. There are not, however, figures published related to why these applications were refused, so it may be reasonably assumed that inadequate or incomplete applications make up the bulk of this amount.

The reports also give a host of interesting facts and figures relating to the gender, nationality and personal circumstances (married, fiancée or partner, for example) of offshore applications, which is particularly useful for clients and potential clients.

For example, admissions of husbands and male fiancés numbered 12,700 in 2008, which is a 16 per cent reduction from 2007 and this was seen across all geographical areas. Just over 40 per cent of this number, 5,185 were from the Indian sub-continent. A far greater figure comes from the admission of wives and female fiancées – 24,100 – although this still represents a 14 per cent decrease from 2007. Again, a high proportion was from Asia – 64 per cent. The report also highlights a decrease in the number of children admitted, with 6,300 marking a 14 per cent reduction from the previous year, with nearly 70 per cent coming from Asia.

Border and Immigration minister Phil Woolas MP was keen to point out that Britain has strong borders and a responsible attitude to suitable visa applications. He said in a statement, “We are rolling out ID cards to foreign nationals…and from the end of next year our electronic border system will monitor 95 per cent of journeys in and out of the UK.”



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