And so net migration into the UK approaches a new record. The media proclaims its horror, but there is something bigger going on.
Net migration in the year to March was 327,000. This number can be broken down into 190,000 non-EU citizens, 180,000 EU citizens.
That’s net migration. Total immigration was 633,000, and emigration was 306,000.
There was no material change from the year before, with net migration just 7,000 less.
Of the total number of immigrants, 176,000 had a definite job and 127,000 were looking for work, immigration into the UK for study stood at 164,000, the lowest level since 2007. Let’s run that last stat past you again, the total number of immigration for study (something that is unambiguously good for the UK economy) stood at 164,000, the lowest level since 2007.
But what’s likely to happen next? To reiterate. The ONS data relates to a period before the referendum.
Commenting on the figures, Ian Brinkley, Acting Chief Economist at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development said: "Our employer survey taken after the vote showed that around 20% of employers who employed migrants reported that some of their migrant workforce were considering leaving the UK and about 40% of all employers think it will be harder to recruit EU migrants in the future. Further CIPD research has also shown that some employers would not be able to fill their vacancies without the additional supply of migrant workers and that organisations that employ migrants are slightly more productive than those that don’t. It’s crucial that this isn’t forgotten when setting migration targets and approaching the renegotiations of our relationship with the EU.”
There are two wider points.
Bear in mind, that demographics across much of Europe are such that within ten years or so, there will be a shortage of labour in most European countries, with the UK being one of the few exceptions. All else being equal, you would expect migration flow from the UK and rest of EU to go into reverse, with net EU migration going negative. But then things are not equal are they? The UK has just voted to pull up the drawbridge, just at a time when many Brits may feel it is appropriate to cross the drawbridge looking outside for opportunities.
And by the way, any idea which EU country has the most number of citizens living abroad? Here is a clue, it’s a two letter word, the second letter is a K.
And the first letter is a U.
No less than 4.9 million Brits live abroad.
Within the EU, the UK ranks at number five for the highest number of citizens living elsewhere in the EU, behind Poland, Romania, Germany and Italy. Spain is the most popular EU destination for Brits living abroad, followed by Ireland, France and then Germany.