Immigration Detention and Removals have both decreased in 2018. Detention at the end of December 2018, fell of 30% compared with the same date 12 months earlier. The fall follows the introduction of the new Immigration Bail in Schedule 10 of the Immigration Bill 2016 (15 January 2018), and changes across the immigration system following Windrush.

In 2018, 10% fewer individuals entered the detention estate than the previous year. This was the lowest level since comparable records began in 2009.

Over the same period, 25,487 left the detention estate (down 10%). Over two-thirds were detained for less than 29 days and 4% were detained for more than 6 months. The Home Office would usually only detain someone for more than 6 months if they are a foreign national offender (FNO), or if they have subsequently claimed asylum while in detention.

Of those leaving detention, 44% were returned from the UK to another country (compared with 47% in the previous year) and a further 40% received Secretary of State (SoS) bail. The remaining 16% will include people granted bail by an Immigration Judge, those granted leave to enter or remain, and those leaving for other reasons (such as deaths and absconders).


There were 9,474 enforced returns from the UK in 2018, 21% fewer than the previous year. The fall coincides with changes across the immigration system following Windrush. In particular there were falls in enforced returns of people who were in immigration detention prior to their return, which fell by 17% to 8,578.

There were 5,209 foreign national offenders returned in 2018, 15% fewer than the previous year.

EU Nationals and their family members

In 2018, there were 29% fewer EU registration certificates and cards issued than in 2017. This fall followed an increase in the period immediately after the Brexit referendum in June 2016. There were 46% fewer registration certificates issued to EU nationals.

43% less EU nationals were granted Permanent Residence in 2018. Despite this fall since the peak in 2017, current levels remain higher than before to the Brexit referendum.


The number of Visitor granted visa in 2018 (including dependants) was 7% more.

In the year ending June 2018 (latest available data by purpose of journey), the number of non-EEA Visitor arrivals increased by 3.5 million (or 31%), to 14.8 million. This was the highest number of arrivals on record, following a general upward trend since 2009.


The number of sponsored Student visa applications in 2018 rose 8% to 229,488. In particular, there were increases in applications for the Higher education (university) sector, which increased by 10%.

The number of Tier 4 (Sponsored study) visas granted over the same period increased by 8%, the highest level since 2011.