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Today the ONS published its latest quarterly migration statistics. These delayed figures were originally due in May but were postponed. The data set shows the latest official long-term international migration statistics for the UK for the year end (YE) December 2017.

So what does the data tell us? Here are 5 key takeaways.


1. EU net migration has fallen to the lowest figure since March 2013

Following revisions to previous provisional data, net migration by EU citizens was down from 108,000 YE September 2017 to 101,000 in December 2017. At 101,000 this puts EU net migration to the lowest level since March 2013, when the figure stood at 95,000.


2. Overall net migration is now at 282,000

Overall net migration is 282,000 for YE December 2017, this is up from 274,000 YE September 2017. It is also up in comparison to December 2016 when the figure stood at 249,000.


3. The number of EU citizens coming to the UK looking for work has decreased compared to last year

Of the 141,000 long-term EU citizens coming to the UK for work, 37,000 were “looking for work” . This is a decrease of 18,000 compared to the period last year. This figure has been falling since June 2016 (a little thing called the EU referendum happened at this time).


4. The number of EU citizens coming to the UK with a definite job remains fairly stable, but there are some changes to these trends when breaking down to where from the EU they are coming to work from (EU15, EU8 and EU2)

The number of EU citizens coming to the UK with a definite job has stayed fairly the same at 104,000 for YE December 2017, with the figure standing at 105,000 for YE December 2016.  There are some changes to these trends when we then look at the figures broken down by EU15, EU8 and EU2.


5. Students coming to the UK to study has increased when looking at year on year data

There has been an uptick in EU students coming to study in comparison to YE September 2017 (56,000 and 52,000 respectively). However, there has been a slight fall for non-EU (130,000 and 128,000 respectively). That said when comparing the year-on-year figures we can see that the numbers continue to rise and we are now looking towards figures similar to June 2015.



What trends have manufacturers seen in their own companies?

Earlier this year EEF, in partnership with Squire Patton Boggs, published its report – Navigating Brexit: The Migration Minefield. We tracked trends this year to last year which revealed that 16% of manufacturers had seen an increase in EU nationals leaving and 26% a drop in applications.

Our 2018 data showed that the EU referendum had abated for now considering our 2017 research revealed that 13% of manufacturers had seen an increase in EU nationals leaving and 17% a drop in applications.

Does the recent Brexit White Paper give us an indication of what might happen in the future?

In short no. Those who have read the White Paper last week will have seen that the future arrangements for an EU migration system will not be published until the autumn at the earliest. The Government is waiting on the report of the Migration Advisory Committee before publishing a response and a future model. You can read EEF’s submission to the MAC here.


Blog / Policy / European policy