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Official immigration figures show steep fall in EU net migration - expert comment

MeardiOfficial government statistics show 130,000 EU citizens left the UK in the year to September 2017, and a fall in the number of EU citizens coming to the UK for work-related reasons.

Professor Gugliemo Meardi, Professor of Industrial Relations and the Director of the Industrial Relations Research Unit at Warwick Business School, said: "The figures show a fall in those coming to the UK from the EU, which is not surprising. The continuous decline in the number of eastern Europeans coming to work in the UK is expected to fall further for two reasons regardless of Brexit.

"The first is demographic factors; there have been very low birth rates in Central and Eastern Europe since the 1990s, contrasting with the baby booms of the 1980s that fed the large migration flows over the last decade.

"Secondly economic factors; ie the rapid catch-up between the UK and Central Eastern Europe. Since 2004, unemployment in Poland has fallen from 20% to 5%, and their average wage has increased from around a fifth of British wages to around a half now.

"It may be expected that for the same reasons arrivals from Bulgaria and Romania will also start to decline soon, and so the Government’s wish to restrict EU migration appears to be backward rather than forward-looking."

Professor Guglielmo Meardi is the author of “What does migration control mean? The link between migration and labour market regulations in Norway, Switzerland and Canada”

22 February 2018


Ashley Potter

Press & PR Executive

Warwick Business School 

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