Net EU migration to the UK falls sharply

LAURENT DUBRULE

A Union Jack flag flutters next to European Union flags ahead a visits of the British Prime Minister David Cameron at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 29 January 2016.

Meanwhile, the UK is evaluating the costs and benefits of international student migration


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EU migration to the UK has dropped to its lowest level since December 2013.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the data suggest that after the Brexit referendum there is a spike in EU migrants leaving.

EU exodus

Net migration from the EU to the UK – the difference between those coming from those leaving – has dropped by 51,000 people. Overall net migration dropped by 81,000.

The biggest share of departures comes from the countries that joined the EU between 2004 and 2007, namely the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

There are approximately 3,5 million EU citizens in the UK.

Unemployment at 4,5% is currently at its lowest level since 1975. But, although the labour market remains dynamic, ambivalence over the prospects for future naturalization, doubts over the future access to education and health, and the sharp devaluation of the pound discourage EU migrants from coming or remaining in the UK.

Limiting students

One in four migrants in the UK is a student.

On Thursday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd commissioned a report to assess the impact of international students on the economy and society. Amber Rudd did recognize that educational services are a major UK export with a significant impact on the economy.

Measuring that impact, researchers will look at educational recruitment tactics, the impact of tuition fees, the impact of foreign students on the overall quality of education, as well as the contribution to local and regional economies.

The study will include both EU and non-EU students. Thus far, the UK has put no limit to student arrivals, estimated at 110,000 a year between 2012 and 2015. Theresa May’s government aims at limiting migration as a whole to below 100,000 a year.

In as statement to the BBC, the Director of Migration Watch Lord Green of Deddington – an advocacy group that aims to limit what it calls “unsustainable” levels of migration – hailed the study as an opportunity to counter the “education lobby,” whose views have not been challenged.

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