UK still seeing positive net-migration flow of EU citizens

More EU citizens are still continuing to arrive to live in the UK than leave, in spite of ongoing fears regarding what impact Brexit will have on their residency status.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that around 201,000 citizens from EU countries settled in the UK last year, while 74,000 left.

However, the inflow of 201,000 is the lowest recorded arrivals figure from the EU since 2013. At the same time, though, non-EU migration is on the rise.

“Long-term immigration to the UK for work purposes has fallen, mainly driven by the decline in EU arrivals,” notes Jay Lindop, director of the Centre for International Migration. “Despite this, 99,000 EU citizens still came to the UK long-term to work in 2018, a level similar to 2012.

“We are also seeing the number of skilled work visas for non-EU citizens increasing, although overall non-EU work-related immigration has remained broadly stable,” Lindop added.

Long-term net migration stood at 258,000 in the year to September, with the EU figure standing at 74,000 and non-EU at 232,000.

Net migration from the “EU8” countries, including Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovankia and other central and eastern European nations that joined the EU in 2004, was significantly down during this period, though.

The ONS said there were 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK at the end of 2018, compared to 3.8 million the year before.

“The largest decrease was for Polish nationals, down 116,000,” the ONS said.

There was, however, a significant rise in net migration from the Middle East and central Asia, rising from 18,000 in 2017 to 30,000 last year.

Article published 28th May 2019