South Asians in the UK

According to the 2001 Census, there were approximately 2,331,400 people classified as Asian or British Asian, constituting 3.9% of the population of the UK. Of these 1,053,411 people (2.7%) were of Indian origin; 747,285 (1.5%) of Pakistani origin and 283,063 (0.5%) Bangladeshi.

A number of distinct phases of migration can be identified:
• Manual workers, mainly from Pakistan, were recruited to fulfill the labour shortages after World War II.
• Workers, mainly men from the divided Punjab region, arrived in the late 1950s and early 1960s to work in the manufacturing and the service sector, including a significant number at Heathrow Airport in west London.
• The Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 changed the character of migration. In 1961, only one–sixth of the migrants were women and there were virtually no children. By 1971 women and children made up three–quarters of the total.
• During the 1960s and 1970s, large numbers of East African Asians, who already held British passports, entered the UK after they were expelled from newly independent African Countries. 5,000 British passport holders from Kenya were admitted in 1968, and more than 21,000 from Uganda in 1971, expelled by Idi Amin.

• Bangladeshis in the UK are relatively recent migrants, having emigrated to the UK primarily from Sylhet located in the north–east Bangladesh, mainly during the 1970s. Subsequently the Bangladeshi population in the UK increased through family reunion.

Most of the subsequent growth in the British Asian community has come from second– and third–generation Asians born in Britain.

map of major south asian migration flows