Record Number of EU Citizens Leave UK in Wake of Brexit Referendum
The UK’s allure for EU migrants has declined considerably over the past couple of years.
A highest number of EU citizens who emigrated from the UK was recorded in 2017, the first full year after the June 2016 referendum on Brexit, according to latest statistical data.
A total of 139,000 EU citizens left Britain last year, the UK Office for National Statistics has announced.
The only other year when the number of EU citizens leaving the UK was nearly that high was 2008 when a total of 134,000 Europeans left Britain. There are about 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK.
In another seeming ramification of the Brexit referendum, 2017 also saw a record number of British citizens acquire citizenship of another EU member state.
Regardless of the record number of Europeans leaving the UK in 2017, the net long-term intra-EU migration to Britain was still 101,000. Yet, that is the lowest number in five years.
“The estimated number of EU citizens coming to the UK ‘looking for work’ continued to decrease over the last year and the number coming to the UK for a definite job has remained stable,” the British Office for National Statistics said.
At the same time, net migration to the UK from outside the EU rose to 227,000, which is the highest figure since September 2011.
The Cabinet of Prime Minister Theresa May wants to reduce the overall net migration to the UK to below 100,000.
Overall, immigration to the UK remained about the same as in 2016, at about 630,000, while emigration has increased slightly to about 350,000.
“We remain committed to bringing net migration down to sustainable levels, and that is the tens of thousands,” the official spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May stated.
“What these statistics show is that more of the people who are coming to the UK are coming for the reasons we would want – to take up a definite job or to study,” the UK’s immigration minister Caroline Noakes said, as cited by BBC News.
“More EU nationals continue to arrive than leave and as the ONS have made clear, net migration has been broadly stable since late 2016. But while it is not unusual to see quarterly ups and downs, we know more needs to be done if we are to bring net migration down to sustainable levels,” she added.
“It’s time for the government to get serious about reducing immigration instead of caving into every demand of the immigration lobby,” stated Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, describing the new figures as “very disappointing”.
“[The UK] is still an attractive country, but its allure for EU migrants has declined considerably over the past couple of years,” Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, is quoted as saying.
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