Britons will vote soon on whether the U.K. should remain a member of the European Unionof 28 countries.
One hot topic in the debate is immigration. EU citizens are allowed to live and work in any EU country, and many have come to the U.K., attracted by a relatively strong economy.
People campaigning for the U.K. to leave — the ‘Brexit’ scenario — argue that the country will have greater control of its borders and immigration outside the EU.
Here are some of the key facts and figures you need to know as the historic referendum on June 23 draws closer:
Net migration up sevenfold since 1991
Immigration to the U.K. in 2014 was nearly double the level in 1991, the earliest year for comparable data from the Office for National Statistics.
Roughly 632,000 people moved to the U.K. in 2014, which is nearly double the number of people who left the country.
Net migration for the year — the difference between the numbers coming and going — was 313,000 people, up from 44,000 in 1991. (Prime Minister David Cameron has said he wants to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands.”)
Nearly 13% of people coming to the U.K. in 2014 were actually British nationals returning from living abroad, inflating the headline number of “immigrants.”
The rest can be divided into two broad categories: people with EU passports and people with other passports.
Nearly 48% of foreign immigrants had passports from other EU countries, such as Poland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and Germany. Just over 52% had passports from countries outside the EU, such as India, China, and the U.S.
The #1 reason why people come to the U.K. is for work, followed by study, according to the ONS.
8.3 million people in the U.K. were born abroad
The latest official data — for 2014 — show that roughly 8.3 million people living in the U.K. were born in another country. That’s equivalent to 13% of the population, up from 8.9% in 2004.
Three million of them have gained British passports since arriving in the U.K.
London = Diverse
London is by far the most diverse region in the U.K., according to a House of Commons report based on ONS data.
Roughly 36.5% of Londoners were born on foreign soil. London is a magnet for immigrants as it boasts a thriving financial sector, vibrant tech scene and strong job market.
Across the rest of the country, the vast majority of the population consists of people born in the U.K. In many regions, less than 10% of residents were born abroad.
Germany is #1
The latest European data show Germany has the largest number of foreign passport holdersin the European Union. The U.K. comes in second place, followed by Italy, Spain and France.
The House of Commons estimates that about 1.2 million British people live in other EU countries, while 3 million people from other EU states live in the U.K.
The Oxford Migration Observatory estimates that of the 3 million EU-born migrants who live in the U.K., about 1.9 million — or 63% — are working.
That’s higher than the average for the U.K. population as a whole.
The ‘Brexit’ referendum
As voters decide whether they want a Brexit, the topic of immigration will continue to come up.
Various government departments are expected to publish more details next month on EU migration in the U.K.