Some of the data on this page has been superseded by recent releases of results from the 2011 Census. This page will be updated soon. In the meantime, please contact us for the most recent information (see above for contact details).
How many people come to Oxford from overseas?
Oxford has long been a destination for international migrants, be it for work or study. The 2001 Census showed that 19% of Oxford's population was born outside the UK, the second highest proportion in South East England. The most common countries of birth were Ireland, USA, Germany, Pakistan and India.
In 2001, 5,200 people - 4% of the population - said they had moved to Oxford from outside the UK in the last 12 months.
Since the 2001 Census there has been a lot of migration to and from the UK. Unfortunately the information we have about how this has affected Oxford is limited. We have relatively good information about the in-flow of legal economic migrants and where they first arrive in the UK, but poor data on dependents and subsequent moves within and out of the UK. By its very nature there is no data about people entering and/or remaining in the UK illegally, or asylum seekers outside 'dispersal areas'.
How much migration has there been from Eastern European countries?
Since eight Eastern European countries joined the EU in 2004 there has been an increased level of international migration to - and from - the UK. At a national level the number of people arriving in the UK increased and so did the number of people leaving. Between 2004 and 2008 net migration was around 200,000 per year. Latest statistics on UK long-term international migration
We have more limited information about international migration to and from Oxford. Whilst we have a number of measures which tell us about the number of migrants coming to Oxford, we have little information about how long these people stay for and how many are here at any one time. The chart below illustrates some of these measures and the differences between them. You can also find these figures in the local area migration indicators produced by the Office for National Statistics.
Migrant in-flow to Oxford, 2004-2009 (54kB PDF)
The chart above shows that 3,850 Eastern European migrant workers have applied to work in Oxford on the Worker Registration Scheme during 2004-2009. The majority of these workers have come from Poland. Eastern European migrant workers coming since 2004 have tended to be young, without children, low paid and intending to stay for less than 3 months.
Applicants to the Worker Registration Scheme by nationality, 2009 (9kB PDF)
The chart above also shows that 3,800 people from outside the UK have applied for a new national insurance number during 2009. NI numbers are required to work in the formal economy and pay tax so they are an indication of the number of international migrants coming to work. The most common countries of origin were the USA, Poland, India and Italy.
Population statistics usually only count migrants who stay in the UK for 12 months or more. However the Office for National Statistics has produced a research report on short-term migration to local areas i.e. moves of between 1 and 12 months. This estimated that in 2006-2007 19,500 international migrants came to Oxford for a short period. At 13% of the resident population this is the second highest short-term in-flow in England & Wales.
Another aspect is migration from people seeking asylum in the UK, but unfortunately there is little information about asylum seekers and refugees in Oxford. Latest statistics on immigration and asylum in the UK
What new communities have emerged in Oxford?
New patterns of migration can lead to new communities being formed based on country of origin. There is some anecdotal evidence of this in Oxford, such as shops which have opened to serve Eastern European customers. Unfortunately the statistical evidence for these patterns of settlement is not available because data on country of origin is not routinely collected. The next Census on 29th March 2011 will capture this information.
The BBC commissioned research in 2005 called 'Born Abroad' which investigated the economic prospects of new and settled migrants in Britain. It found that the new migrants least likely to be employed came from Somalia, Angola, Iran, Ethiopia, ex-Yugoslavia, Korea, Cyprus, China and Iraq. The settled migrants least likely to be employed originated from Korea, Somalia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey. It also found that new migrants in employment are more likely to be in low-paid jobs compared to settled migrants. More on Born Abroad.
Page last reviewed 11 Nov 2011