Immigration is falling – be careful what you wish for

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Series Details 23.02.17
Publication Date 23/02/2017
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The UK in a Changing Europe promotes rigorous, high-quality and independent research into the complex and ever changing relationship between the UK and the European Union (EU).

It provides an authoritative, non-partisan and impartial reference point for those looking for information, insights and analysis about UK-EU relations that stands aside from the politics surrounding the debate.

The Initiative’s work is tailored to be easily accessible to policy makers, businesses, journalists, civil society organisations, educational institutions and the general public who are interested in the UK’s relationship with the EU.

It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and based at King’s College London.The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) published on the 23 February 2017 its latest Migration Statistics Quarterly Report. Net migration to the United Kingdom (EU and non-EU) dropped to 273,000 in the year to September 2016, down 49,000 from the previous year.

The figures also showed a fall in EU migration to the UK, particularly those coming from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (the 'EU8') that joined the EU in 2004; in the year to September 2016, net migration from these countries fell by about 20,000. Meanwhile, the number of new National Insurance registrations in the year to December 2016 was flat, but again numbers from the EU8 fell. Non-EU immigration also fell, particularly for students, now at the lowest level since 2002.

The author suggests that if net migration from the EU falls by more than half over the next five years, the economic impact on the UK will be significant; the resulting hit to GDP could be about 0.6 to 1.2%, with a GDP per capita reduction of 0.2 to 0.8%. Over the period to 2030, the resulting reduction in GDP per capita could be up to 3.4%. By contrast, the increase in low-skilled wages resulting from reduced migration is expected to be relatively modest.

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Related Links
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
BBC News, 23.02.17: Net migration to UK falls by 49,000
ONS: People, population and community: Population and migration: International migration: Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, February 2017
Euro|Topics: Debates, February 2017: UK attracting fewer migrants
Blog: Open Europe, 23.02.17: New migration figures show no clear impact of Brexit vote
Blog: LSE EuroppBlog, 04.03.17: Truth to tell: populism and the immigration debate
Blog: UK in a Changing Europe, 07.03.17: The final Brexit deal must honour the public’s desire for reduced net migration

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