UK immigration latest: EU net migration falls over past year as Brexit uncertainty continues | The Independent

Not surprising:

EU net migration is falling as more European citizens leave the UK and fewer arrive in the wake of the vote for Brexit, new statistics show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said overall net migration in the year to September was 244,000 – a similar level to early 2014 and down on record levels in the next two years.

The number of European citizens arriving has plummeted since the EU referendum, while the number of people from outside the bloc has increased.

“EU net migration has fallen as fewer EU citizens are arriving, especially those coming to look for work in the UK, and the number leaving has risen – it has now returned to the level seen in 2012,” said Nicola White, head of international migration statistics at the ONS.

“The figures also show that non-EU net migration is now larger than EU net migration, mainly due to the large decrease in EU net migration over the last year. However, migration of both non-EU and EU citizens are still adding to the UK population.

“Brexit could well be a factor in people’s decision to move to or from the UK, but people’s decision to migrate is complicated and can be influenced by lots of different reasons.”

The number of EU citizens coming to the UK plummeted by 47,000 in the year and the number leaving – 130,000 – is the highest recorded level since the 2008 financial crisis.

Almost a quarter of a million people arrived in the UK to work in the period 2017, with the number of EU citizens falling by 58,000.

Most of the Europeans arriving had a definite job lined up, while a smaller proportion were looking for work.

The biggest nationality starting work in the year to September, according to National Insurance number registration data, was Romanian, followed by Polish, Italian, Bulgarian, Spanish and Indian – who accounted for over half of all skilled work visas granted.

The ONS said that the overall employment rate for EU nationals was 81.2 per cent, followed by Brits at 75.6 per cent and non-EU nationals on 63.2 per cent.

George Koureas, a partner at immigration law firm Fragomen, said: “The UK has become a significantly less attractive place for European citizens to work since Brexit, so it’s no surprise that more EU workers are leaving the country.

“Although the Government may see this as good news, it presents a significant threat to UK businesses, already struggling to hire the skilled workers they need to thrive.”

He said there could be a further impact from the Government’s plan to double the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is paid by migrants to use the NHS, and caps on visas for skilled workers.

via UK immigration latest: EU net migration falls over past year as Brexit uncertainty continues | The Independent

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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