EU net migration to UK falling sharply

Net migration from the EU to the UK is at its lowest level since 2003, new figures show.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that the difference between EU nationals arriving and leaving in the year ending June 2019 was 48,000.

This is the lowest number since the EU expansion of 2004, when eight countries including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, became EU member states.

The fall has been driven by a sharp decline in EU immigration. This has been sparked by uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the lower value of the pound making the UK less attractive, and the improving economic prospects in other EU countries.

Between June 2018 and June 2019, 199,000 EU citizens arrived to live in the UK. This is well down from the 305,000 EU citizens who immigrated to the UK in the year to March 2015, when EU immigration was at its peak.

However, while EU migration may be down, non-EU migration is rising steadily.

An estimated 229,000 more non-EU citizens moved to the UK than left in the year ending June 2019. Since 2013, the number of non-EU citizens entering the UK has been rising year-on-year, while emigration figures have remained broadly similar.

An ONS spokesman said: “Our best assessment using all data sources is that long-term immigration, emigration and net migration have remained broadly stable since the end of 2016.

“However, we have seen different patterns for EU and non-EU citizens. While there are still more EU citizens moving to the UK than leaving, EU net migration has fallen since 2016, driven by fewer EU arrivals for work.

“In contrast, non-EU net migration has gradually increased for the past six years, largely as more non-EU citizens came to study.”

Article published 2nd December 2019