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IPPR - Government must act to prepare for post-referendum changes

Phoebe Griffith, IPPR’s associate director for migration, integration and communities, commented on the long-term immigration statistics from the ONS

“These figures suggest that Britain’s decision to leave the EU could start impacting on migration flows very soon. Within three months we have seen a marked change in the composition of EU migration – significant increases in the numbers of people coming from Romania and Bulgaria, alongside marked drops in the numbers coming from EU8 countries like Poland.

“Significant shifts in the composition of the migrant population coming to the UK will have considerable impacts on public services and the labour market. The Government needs to act now to deal with these changes to make sure that schools and health services are properly prepared including with the resources they need, and that UK employers are not hampered by labour shortages.”

The figures show a complex picture; on the one hand, net migration of EU8 citizens (the 2004 Eastern European accession countries) has seen a statistically significant fall since the last year, suggesting some impacts from the EU referendum, perhaps as a result of the fall in the Pound and the shifting perceptions of the UK after the vote.

At the same time, the trend of increasing inward migration from Romania and Bulgaria continues, up to 74,000 in the year ending September 2016 from 55,000 in the year before, and the flows of EU15 citizens (from Western Europe) holds steady.

The figures also indicate a significant surge in grants of permanent residence to European Economic Area nationals (and non-EEA family members), more than doubling from 18,000 in 2015 to 65,000 in 2016, most likely as a result of concerns among migrants about their future status in the UK post-Brexit. This we expect will be accompanied by a large backlog in permanent residence applications currently being processed at the Home Office.

View report:  Long term international migration QMI


Kieren Walters 07921 403651
Rebecca Malone 07585 772633

Editor's Note:

IPPR aims to influence policy in the present and reinvent progressive politics in the future, and is dedicated to the better country that Britain can be through progressive policy and politics. With nearly 60 staff across four offices throughout the UK, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.

Our independent research is wide ranging, it covers the economy, work, skills, transport, democracy, the environment, education, energy, migration and healthcare among many other areas.

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