Drop in net migration since Brexit vote as more EU citizens leave

Lowest level for three years

Net migration has fallen to the lowest level in three years since last year’s vote to leave the European Union due to a surge of EU citizens leaving the UK.

Figures from the Office of National Statistic show net migration, the difference between those entering and leaving the UK, was down 81,000 to 246,000 in the year ending March 2017.

More than half of the change was due to a decrease in net migration of EU citizens, which is down 51,000 and is driven by an increase in emigration of EU citizens, particularly EU8 citizens.

The ONS figures show a particularly sharp rise in citizens from EU8 countries, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, are leaving the UK up 17,000.

A spokesperson for the ONS said: “These results indicate that the EU referendum result may be influencing people’s decision to migrate into and out of the UK, particularly EU and EU8 citizens.

“It is too early to tell if this is an indication of a long-term trend.”

These figures come as employers revealed their concern about the future of the economy amid uncertainty surrounding Brexit and a lack of workers in industries such as construction that rely heavily on EU workers.

The ONS also found that fewer people are coming to the UK to look for work and the majority immigrating had a definite job to come to.

Matthew Percival, CBI Head of Employment, said: “EU nationals make a crucial contribution to UK economic growth and job creation.

“This latest data reflects a trend many businesses have seen - an increase in the number of EU citizens leaving the country. The loss of these vital skills should concern us all, underlining the importance of urgently providing certainty for millions of workers and their families.”

The ONS figures revealed emigration from all countries has risen and immigration has fallen.

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