Net migration in the UK shrank by over 100,000 people in the year following the Brexit referendum due to the smaller number of EU citizens arriving in the country. Such is trend welcomed by the government, but is highly disappointing business. The total number of newcomers exceeded the leavers by 230,000 people in the 12 months to end of June, which is the lowest data since the end of 2013, according to the National Statistics Office in London. The net migration reached a record 336,000 in the year before the referendum.
The European citizens who arrived in the UK formed the bulk of arrivals, with net migration from the bloc decreasing by 43% to 107,000. The changes are particularly noticeable among Central and Eastern European citizens who joined the bloc after 2004, and in particular Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
“What explains this fall? This is partly due to the significant slowdown in our economy and the depreciation of the pound to a great extent due to Brexit”, said Jonathan Ports, senior associate in the UK for Changing Europe. “Whatever you think about the impact of immigration can not be good news that Britain is a less attractive place to live and work and that, as a result, we will be poorer”, added he.
The data will be welcomed by Prime Minister Theresa May, who promised to reduce annual net immigration by “tens of thousands”. According to business leaders, the loss of foreign workers could hit the economy. Sectors such as tourism, construction, and the food and drink industries rely heavily on EU labor and are finding it hard to find workers.
According to the Statistical Office, the number of people migrating to a particular job remains stable, but there is a 43% drop in the number of immigrants in search of a job. The decrease is most pronounced among European citizens.