The latest on UK immigration statistics
Recent immigration figures have suggested that the so-called ‘Brexodus’ trend isn’t likely to slow down any time soon. The difference between EU nationals arriving in the UK on a long-term basis and departing the country was 246,000 during the 12 months up to March this year. This meant net migration had dropped to its lowest level in three years. The figure represented a drop of 81,000 compared to the previous 12 months.
The number of EU nationals exiting the UK was up by 33,000 year-on-year, with the figure of 122,000 being the highest for almost a decade. 17,000 migrants from countries that joined the EU in 2004 left the country. These countries include the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. There was a 19,000 drop in numbers coming from the EU, with total EU net migration standing at 127,000, a fall of 51,000 on the previous 12-month period. The non-EU migration figure was down to 179,000 from 14,000.
Head of international migration statistics at the Office for National Statistics Nicola White said the figures indicated that Brexit could be heavily influencing decisions to depart and arrive in the UK, but warned it was “too early to tell if this is an indication of a long-term trend”.
The Political Reaction
New Lib Dems leader Sir Vince Cable said the figures represented a “deeply worrying Brexodus”. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said reduced numbers of EU workers were causing recruitment problems for the NHS. However, the chairman of Migration Watch UK, Lord Green of Deddington, said the results were a “step forward” but claimed migration remained “at an unacceptable level”. The Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said the fall in net migration was “encouraging” but said his government were avoiding complacency. There have been multiple warnings about industries facing a “brain drain” due to EU nationals no longer feeling welcome in the UK. The ONS branded the reduction in net migration as a “statistically significant change” and said the change was mainly caused by a vast drop in EU nationals arriving in the country.
The Labour Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott described the Government’s migration policy as a “shambles”, stating that Theresa May’s “arbitrary” net migration target of under 100,000 had never been met. Most of the 275,000 people arriving in the UK had a definite job waiting for them, with 87,000 entering with the hope of finding employment. The number of people moving abroad for work was up to 122,000, a rise of 21,000.
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