Migration is a global phenomenon with a growing number of people making the decision to live and work abroad. Immigration is driven by a complex range of 'push' and 'pull' factors – the latter includes globalisation, the opening up of labour markets, and the speed and ease of international travel; the former is driven by factors such as war, political unrest and economic disparity.
Migrants come to the UK primarily for economic reasons. The vast majority make a positive contribution to society, bringing skill, labour power and links to industries across the globe. The current UK Government has set a limit on migration with a view to reducing net migration to tens of thousands.
Nationals from the European Union are allowed to come to the UK to work without having to apply for a visa. A reciprocal arrangement is in place for UK citizens to work in Europe. Nationals living outside of the European Union can apply to UKBA for a work visa and this will be decided according to a points-based system, which considers criteria such as qualifications, work experience and income. The rights and privileges of immigrants vary according to the individual's country of origin and/or visa entitlements.
The UK also has a duty to protect people who are seeking to escape persecution in their country of origin. More information on asylum seekers and refugees can be found by clicking on the links to the left.