Net migration to Britain fell by 49,000 to 273,000 in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, with approximately 12,000 Polish nationals and other eastern Europeans leaving the UK.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show net migration, the difference between people arriving in the UK and those leaving, has dipped below 300,000 to 273,000 in the year to September – a 59,000 drop. Interestingly, the figures showed a record high of 74,000 people coming into the UK from Romania and Bulgaria.
The latest quarterly figures also show a statistically significant drop of 41,000 in the number of international students estimated to be coming to study in Britain – down to 134,000. In comparison, Home Office figures show that the number of EU nationals in Britain who made EEA applications to secure their individual status post-Brexit doubled from 92,289 in 2015 to 201,287 in 2016 with more than 140,000 successful.
The immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, commented “. . . The fall in net migration is encouraging. But this is just one set of statistics and we must not get carried away. We will continue to make progress to bring down net migration to the tens of thousands . . .” Nicola White, the ONS’s head of international migration statistics, said: “. . . Although we have seen a fall in net migration of EU8 citizens there have been continued increases in immigration from Romania and Bulgaria, so it is too early to say what effect the referendum result has had on long-term international migration . . .”
The publicised net migration figures are likely to intensify the Government’s drive to reduce the number of registered sponsor licence holders within the UK. We are experiencing an increase in Home Office audits for our existing clients and would recommend considering the liabilities of failing an audit with both suspension and economic sanctions at risk. Newland Chase recommends EEA nationals securing permanent status within the UK as a matter of priority and can offer advice on how best to proceed.
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