The latest Home Office figures show that since 2010, family immigration in the UK has decreased by 7%, while student immigration is down by 28%.
The sponsored visa applications for skilled workers increased by 18% with significant increases from nationals from India (17%), Australia (30%) and United States (9%).
The majority of applications were for work in the following fields; Information and Communication, Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities, Finance and Insurance sectors.
Latest figures also reveal that there was a record number of visitor visa applications, with close to 2m visas issued – up 14% compared to the previous year. China, Russia and Kuwait showed the biggest rises in visitors.
The figures showing net migration from outside the EU is down to levels not seen since the late 1990s, demonstrate that reforms to curb non-EU migration and tackle abuse in the work, family and student visa routes are having the intended impact, Home Office has said.
Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “Uncontrolled, mass immigration makes it difficult to maintain social cohesion, puts pressure on our public services and forces down wages for people on low incomes.
“We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system or flout the law. We want to ensure that people come to the UK for the right reasons – to work hard and contribute to our economy and society.”
Mr Brokenshire praised the government’s immigration reforms saying they have clamped down on student abuse, while still ensuring that the UK continues to attract the brightest and best students to its world class universities.
“Figures showed there was an 8% increase in the number of student visas applications for universities, with a rise of 11% for Russell Group institutions. Applications for the further education sector, where much of the abuse was concentrated, continue to fall, with sponsored applications down 31%,” Mr. Brokenshire said.