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Net migration between the EU and the UK lowest since 2012

29 November 2018


NET migration between the European Union and the UK has fallen to its lowest level since 2012, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

The figures, published on Thursday morning, show that EU net migration in the year to June 2018 was 74,000, whereas, in 2012, it was 65,000.

On the other hand, net migration for non-EU citizens is reportedly at its highest since 2004: in the year to June, 248,000 more people came to the the UK than left it.

The director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS, Jay Lindop, said on Thursday: “Net migration continues to add to the population, and has remained fairly stable since its peak in 2016, with around 270,000 more people coming to the UK than leaving in the year ending June 2018.

“However, there are different patterns for EU and non-EU migration. Due to increasing numbers arriving for work and study, non-EU net migration is now at the highest level since 2004. In contrast, EU net migration, while still adding to the population as a whole, is at the lowest since 2012.

“Decisions to migrate are complex, and people’s decision to move to or from the UK will be influenced by a range of factors.”

More people — 273,000 — moved to the UK with an “intention to stay 12 months or more” than left in the year ending June 2018; 625,000 people moved to the UK; and 351,000 people left the UK.

The net migration of EU15 migrants — from the older, Western European EU members such as France and Germany — fell from 84,000, in the year to June 2016, to 47,000 in the year to June 2018.

Net migration of EU2 citizens (from Romania and Bulgaria) almost halved from 62,000 in the year ending June 2016, reaching an estimated 34,000 in the same period two years later: the lowest since 2014, when they joined the EU. Net migration from the EU8 countries — those that joined in 2004, such as Poland and Hungary — fell by 14,000.

The director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, Madeleine Sumption, said: “EU migrants have been leaving in larger numbers since the referendum, and net inflows have greatly decreased. The lower value of the pound is likely to have made the UK a less attractive place to live and work, and economic conditions in several of the top countries of origin for EU migrants have improved.

“We have doubts about the accuracy of the non-EU net migration figures. Other data sources do not support the idea that non-EU citizens are currently contributing so much to net migration.”

The chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Satbir Singh, said: “We’ve had eight years of toxic rhetoric and a hostile environment targeting anyone in this country who happened to be born elsewhere; and two years of complete uncertainty about this Government’s ability and willingness to protect rights after Brexit.

“But when a neighbour or a colleague or a friend says ‘Enough now,’ and leaves, we all lose out. Now is the time for new ideas and a new conversation — for a better, fairer immigration system that works for everyone.”

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