IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: UK Migration In 2007

Oct 21, 2023 | IELTS Test

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: The tables show the main reasons for people immigrating to or emigrating from the United Kingdom in 2007. 

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. 

The tables show the main reasons for people immigrating to or emigrating from the United Kingdom in 2007. 

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

You should write at least 150 words. 

Reasons for emigrating to the UK

Definite job 30%
Looking for work 12%
Formal study 26%
Accompany/join family 15%
No reason stated 6%
Other 11%


Reasons for emigrating from the UK

Definite job 29%
Looking for work 22%
Formal study 4%
Accompany/join family 13%
No reason stated 18%
Other 14%


This is another example of the common T1 comparative task. When first looking at tasks involving tables and/or bar and pie graphs (line graphs are a little different), it is a good idea to count how many ‘data sets’ or separate ‘bits’ of information there are. Here there are only 12, six in each graph. This is typical of many tasks, and when there are, say 12-15 such ‘bits,’ and there is no real complexity in what is shown, normally we should look to report all this data, with no percentage or number omitted. As the model answer below shows, all the data can be included in a comprehensive report under the 220-word count that we generally see as the maximum that should be needed to cover any T1. 

Once we have established that there is nothing difficult to understand and that we should easily be able to include all the data, we can start to think about how to frame our summary/overview. Where are there noticeable similarities or differences between the charts? In this case, our eye is drawn to the almost identical percentage of people moving to begin a particular job and then the quite sizable differences in those seeking work, those moving to study, and people who do not report any reason for their decision. 


As with all tasks of this particular type, there are two alternative approaches to describing what we can see. The first is to compare the two charts concurrently, category by category. For example, we could write something like There are 12% of immigrants seeking work, whereas this percentage is considerably higher with emigrants.  The second approach is to describe each graph in turn. The first approach is fine, but generally, this will involve more words being needed, and it can get a little complex. We recommend the second method as a simpler one to follow. There will still be opportunities to occasionally compare concurrently if you wish (see the third sentence in our 3rd paragraph), and your summary/overview will adequately highlight the most significant points of comparison and contrast. In this instance, we opt for a three-paragraph format:

1st paragraph: restating the task in our own words, avoiding close repetition of how the task is given to us, followed by an overview of what we regard as the most important points.  

2nd paragraph: a detailed description of the first graph.

3rd paragraph: a similar description of the second graph.

Paragraphing in T1 is not as critical as in the T2 essay, but we should include at least two to hit the higher band scores. Here, we choose three paragraphs, but in other instances, we might choose a two- or four-paragraph format depending on the complexity of the data. (More than four is not usually necessary.) 

The Model Answer

image of the palace of Westminster at night

The tables show the main causes of migration to and from Great Britain in 2007. In summary, there were notable variations even though the percentage of people with jobs to go to was nearly identical. While a higher number of those who left the UK were looking for work, many immigrants relocated for formal education. There was a significantly larger percentage of those who gave no explanation for leaving the nation. 

Having a job to start (30%) and attending school were the main motivators for individuals who moved permanently to the UK; slightly more than 25% moved for these reasons. Eleven percent were looking for work, and fifteen percent were travelling with or joining relatives. Just over 10% of respondents cited a different reason, while 6% gave no explanation at all. 

The situation for departing employees was a little different. A comparable number (29%) had a job to go to, but up to 22% were looking for work. Only 4% of Britons moved for formal schooling, and three times as many Britons (18%) stated no explanation at all for their move. Comparable percentages—14% and 13%, respectively—were given for any other reason, as well as for travelling with or joining relatives.   

[202 words] 


Keywords in the task include immigrationemigrationjobstudy, and reason(s), but we can easily avoid over-repetition by varying the terminology. 

When dealing with percentages, we should consider the possibility of converting them to proportions.

Our grammatical forms are sufficiently varied, with a good mixture of simple and complex structures.