“No ifs, no buts, we will cut immigration,” promised David Cameron during the last election campaign, well, it’s a bit late to save his career, but not only is immigration in some areas falling, it has gone negative. But this is far from being a reason to celebrate.
The latest Tech Nation report waxed lyrical. “an average digital tech worker is more than twice as productive as the average worker,” it said, as it claimed that the UK is the digital capital of Europe.
Foreign graduates have played a crucial role – they boost the available talent pool, and indeed the entrepreneurial pool.
But according to the Resolution Foundation, the number of EU born workers in the UK fell by 50,000 to 2.3 million in the last quarter of 2016.
It turns out that the biggest exodus of EU born workers related to graduates. At the same time, the number of lower skilled workers rose, slightly.
The Resolution Foundation said: “While it’s too early to draw any firm conclusions about post-referendum migration levels, the initial reduction looks to have been driven by graduates. . . This trend highlights that labour market adjustment to lower migration levels may not just be in the lower-paid sectors that have dominated much of the debate.”
It does seem that the UK’s backlash against immigration may turn out to have been a nasty case of self-harm.