Welcome to our outline guide [LINK]

Understanding the Evidence

3.10 Evidence Gaps and Limitations

This guide brings together data from, and information about, official data sources that shed light on migration patterns and migrant populations at the local authority level in the UK. There are many areas where information is not readily available at the local authority level, particularly if recent data are required. This includes indicators of well-being, such as health outcomes, housing tenure, and financial resources. Detailed characteristics of migrants, such as educational attainment and language proficiency, are also frequently lacking. For local authorities with a sufficiently large population of the target group, more detailed statistics can be derived from surveys such as the Labour Force Survey or the APS, although this requires extracting the information using statistical software.

Non-UK nationals are generally free to move from one local area to another once they enter the UK. A key data gap concerns information on international migrants’ onward movement within the UK in the months or years after they arrive. Although there are various sources of information on internal migration at the local authority level, they usually do not make a distinction between international migrants and the UK-born or UK-nationals.

While there is significant user interest in the impacts of migrants on local economies or their public services, relevant local-level data are not currently available. 

ONS is exploring how to bring together administrative data on migration held across different government agencies as a part of their ‘population and migration statistics transformation journey’. For instance, HMRC tax records can in principle provide information on workers in different industries, providing a clearer picture of the economic activity of new migrants. This has the potential to improve the availability of loca­­­­­l-level data on international migrants and migration. This programme of work is expected to lead to developments in the available statistics between now and 2023.