Published: Thu, August 24, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Drop in net migration since Brexit vote as more European Union citizens leave

Drop in net migration since Brexit vote as more European Union citizens leave

The number of worldwide students coming to study in the United Kingdom also dropped to 139,000 - 27,000 fewer than last year - in a continued trend as the United Kingdom has tightened visa restrictions on non-EU students in recent years.

According to new statistics, net migration in the United Kingdom has fallen to the lowest level in three years.

When the difference between arrivals to and departures from the United Kingdom were calculated, the number of foreign nationals estimated to have moved to Britain in the year ending March was 246,000 - a fall of 81,000 compared to 12 months prior.

At the same time there was a 19,000 decrease in immigration from the EU.

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Nicola White, head of global migration statistics at the ONS, said the quarterly figures indicate the European Union referendum result may be influencing people's decision to migrate into and out of the United Kingdom, particularly European Union nationals from Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia and Latvia. In particular, emigration rose by 17,000 among people from the EU8 countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia.

The new immigration figures are based on passenger surveys at airports which were implemented a year ago.

Numbers of non-EU nationals coming to the United Kingdom are also falling.

Of the 275,000 people who arrived to work, the majority had a definite job waiting and a smaller proportion - 87,000 - came looking for a job. "It is too early to tell if this is an indication of a long-term trend".

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Meanwhile, the two big employer's organizations, the Institute of Directors (IOD) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), both expressed alarm at the growing number of departing Europeans.

The EU has called on Britain during the Brexit negotiations - set to resume next week - to ensure the status of approximately 3 million EU citizens now living in the United Kingdom.

Ahead of a snap general election in June, Prime Minister Theresa May promised to keep her Conservative government's long-term commitment to reduce Britain's annual net immigration to below 100,000.

"Signs that it is becoming a less attractive place to live and work are a concern", he added.

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