The main motive for people migrating to the United Kingdom (U.K) is work. According to the Office of National Statistics or ONS, more than 170,000 individuals of non-British origin moved to the U.K for work reasons in 2018 and stayed there for at least a year.
According to a survey, most long-term migrants, between 2007-2018 admitted to work being their main motive to move to the UK. But after the June 2016 referendum, there was considerable reduction in long term migration from the EU and this also included migration for work purposes. In fact, in 2018, the number of EU and non-EU migrants moving into U.K was almost similar, 99,000 from the EU and 78,000 from non-EU countries.
In the survey on non-EU citizens living in the U.K including the recent migrants and those who arrived years back, almost 19% admitted to work being the main motive to migrate. On the other hand, 45% of EU citizens admitted to the same.
Migrant workers coming to the U.K are employed in a wide range of jobs. It is observed that non-EU workers are employed in high-skilled jobs compared to those from the EU. One possible reason for this is since EU citizens have the freedom to move between EU countries, it is possible for them to work in any occupation whereas non-EU citizens must qualify for work visas. These visas often have skill requirements.
Employer-sponsored work visas for graduate jobs contributed to the largest percentage of work visas issued to non-EU citizens which are otherwise known as Tier 2 Work Visas. They contributed to 45% of the work visas issued in 2018. The other category is temporary visas, also known as Tier 5 contributed to 31% of work visas issued in that year.
The third category or Tier 1 Visas which are given to investors and entrepreneurs contributed to 3% of work visas issued in 2018.