Immigrating to the UK

Work permit in the UK

The United Kingdom has long been a destination for immigrants. For those more advanced in age its lure was being in the heart of the British Empire. In later days until the present it has still remained an attractive place to live and work. Since the Second World War the immigration patterns to the country have changed dramatically, and between the year 1991 and 2001 half of the UK’s population increase came from its foreign-born population.

After World War II when the UK lost most of its overseas colonies, the British Nationality Act of 1948 was passed which allowed for all its former colonial subjects to have the option of living and working in the UK without a visa – basically this act completely opened the doors for immigration, in no small part due to the labor demand of rebuilding after the war. However by 1962 the brakes were applied to such a liberal policy, by 1972 only Commonwealth members with work permits or parents or grandparents born in the UK could enter, and other restrictions on immigration have continued. However the right of freedom of movement within the European Union has brought significant recent immigration to the UK.

As with many countries that experience a relatively high amount of immigration, in the UK this is a charged issue now just as much as ever, as politicians stir up the pot in 2014 now that restrictions against Bulgarians and Romanians have been lifted.

The most recent statistics show the following list of the top ten foreign-born populations in the UK:

  • India 730,000
  • Poland 644,000
  • Ireland 458,000
  • Pakistan 458,000
  • Germany 298,000
  • Bangladesh 231,000
  • South Africa 212,000
  • Nigeria 191,000
  • United States 190,000
  • Jamaica 144,000

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