On 22 February 2018, the latest sets of quarterly immigration statistics were published by the Office for National Statistics (“ONS”). The results concluded that UK immigration in the year ending September 2017 fell slightly with a net decline of 29,000 immigrants in comparison to the September 2016. This demonstrates that fewer EU citizens are coming to the UK and the number of EU citizens leaving the UK has increased.
While this remains short of the Government’s target to reduce net migration to below 100,000 following the vote to leave the EU. However, Sky News highlighted that the ONS bulletin showed net migration from the EU to the UK fell below 100,000 for the first time in almost five years.
By way of summary, the main points from the ONS bulletin are as follows:
- In the year ending September 2017 net migration was at a similar level to early 2014 with 244,000 more people coming to the UK than leaving, so still adding to the UK population. This follows record levels of net migration during 2015 and early 2016.
- The latest headline estimates are similar to last quarter (published 30 November 2017).
- EU net migration has fallen over the last year, as fewer EU citizens are coming to the UK and the number leaving the UK increased. However, there are still more EU citizens coming to the UK than leaving.
- The number of EU citizens coming to the UK for work-related reasons has fallen over the last year, in particular, those coming to the UK "looking for work".
- Non-EU net migration increased over the last year. This time last year we saw a decrease in the number of non-EU citizens arriving to study, which was not reflected in the most comparable Home Office's student visa data.
- The latest ONS estimate of non-EU citizens arriving to study shows a return to the level before this decrease, therefore any interpretation of this latest increase in non-EU citizens arriving to study should be made with caution.
- In 2017, the UK granted asylum, alternative forms of protection or resettlement to almost 15,000 individuals, 40% of who were under 18 years of age.
As predicted by Gherson, the statistics do show evidence of a “Brexodus’, with an accelerating decline in the number of EU nationals coming to work in Britain, whilst an increasing number are returning home. If you are an EU national in the UK and want to discuss the options available to you to ensure your residency following Brexit, please contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.