EU migration at lowest point as skills shortages start to bite


The most recent Government figures show that net EU migration is at its lowest point in a decade but skills shortages are starting to bite.

The most recent figures from the ONS shows that net migration continues to add to the population of the UK as an estimated 283,000 more people moved here with an intention to stay 12 months or more than left in the year.

Over the past year, 627,000 people moved to the UK (immigration) and 345,000 people left the UK (emigration).

The Government figures show that net migration, immigration and emigration figures have remained broadly stable overall since the end of 2016 but there are now different patterns for EU and non-EU migration:

Non-EU net migration was the highest since 2004; this follows a gradual increase in immigration of non-EU citizens over the past five years for both work and study. The number of EU citizens coming to the UK continues to add to the population; however, EU net migration has fallen to a level last seen in 2009 with more citizens from Central and Eastern European countries leaving the UK than arrived.

Immigration to the UK for work has fallen to its lowest level since 2014 as the number of EU citizens arriving to work continues to fall.

Figure 1: Net migration, immigration and emigration overall have remained broadly stable since the end of 2016

Long-Term International Migration, UK, year ending December 2008 to year ending September 2018

Figure 2: Non-EU net migration has increased, while EU net migration has decreased

Net migration by citizenship, UK, year ending December 2008 to year ending September 2018

Commenting on the latest official migration statistics published today by the Office for National Statistics and the Home Office, Jonathan Boys, Labour Market Economist at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments:

“A familiar pattern is starting to emerge in the quarterly migration statistics. EU net migration has fallen to a level last seen a decade ago. For Central and Eastern European countries, the balance has actually turned negative with more EU citizens leaving than arriving.

“Like businesses, people crave certainty, so they can plan their lives so it is not surprising there is a declining appetite for EU citizens to come live and work in the UK.

“Given the important role that EU citizens play in key sectors of the economy, the figures highlight the need for the post-Brexit immigration system for EU nationals to be as low cost and user-friendly as possible for both employers and individuals. With record high employment and the effect of skills shortages starting to bite, the government needs to be in full listening mode in its consultation with employers over the proposals in the immigration white paper, to ensure that businesses are able to continue to access the skilled and unskilled workers they need from the EU post Brexit.”


You can see the ONS figures in full here.

You can see the CIPD press release here.