Some long-settled Somalis also returned to Somalia in the 1960s, following the country's independence, though many subsequently moved back to Britain as a result of growing instability during the 1980s.
The total number of grants of settlement to Somali nationals was 4,505 in 2011, 3,102 in 2012 and 4,341 in 2013 (out of totals of 166,878, 129,749 and 154,689, respectively, for all foreign nationals).
This was widely considered an undercount, and in response, the Office for National Statistics employed the services of a Somali community adviser in the run-up to the 2011 Census in order to address possible under-enumeration of Somalis.
The Somali community in the UK includes British citizens, refugees, asylum seekers, persons granted exceptional leave to remain, irregular migrants, and Somalis who have moved to Britain after being granted refugee status in other European states.
until the 1950s, Somali migrants were legally restricted to working in the shipping industry, were paid at rates 25 per cent below the pay of native British workers, and forced to settle only in towns and cities that were centres of shipping.
The United Nations Development Programme estimated in 2009 that 10,000 Somalis were visiting the northwestern Somaliland region from the UK annually, The ethnic classification of Somalis in Britain has varied over the years.
During the early 20th century, Somalis were administered as "Somali" or "Arab" in tandem with Egyptians, Sudanese, Zanzibaris and Yemenis.
While faced with several social challenges, community members include notable sports figures, filmmakers, activists and local politicians.
It has also established business networks and media organisations.
The majority of these live in England, with the largest number found in London.