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UK: Strong Increase in Departures of EU Citizens

The National UK Statistics said on Thursday a surge in the departures of European citizens from the United Kingdom between April 2016 and March 2017. A total of 122 000 people have left the country.

In total 122 000 European citizens settled in the UK left the country between April 2016 and March 2017, a figure the highest for nine years, according to data released Thursday by the British National Statistics Office (NSO).

Emigration increases 37%

The European emigration has accelerated in recent months for a year, it increased by 37% (+33 000 departures compared to 2016).

The increase is particularly driven by the departures of Romanian and Bulgarian citizens (+ 100%) and those of European citizens from the east (58% for the group of countries representing Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia).

Immigration was down 7%

At the same time, European immigration was down 7% (19,000 arrivals).

The migration of European citizens in the UK remains positive over the period, with 126 000 arrivals, but shows a sharp drop compared to 2016 (-29%).

These changes come as the British voted in favor of leaving the United Kingdom of the European Union in June 2016, after a campaign marked by the question of reducing immigration.

“Worried about their future status in the country”

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at the University King’s College London, these results “confirm that Brexit has a significant impact on migration flows, even before any political or legislative change” .

“European citizens, those who plan to come to the UK as those already installed, are worried about their future status in the country” , he considers on Twitter.

Nicola White, director of international migration to the NSO, it is “too early to say whether these figures are an indication of a long-term trend” .

The status of the 3.2 million Europeans living in the UK and the million Britons settled in the rest of the EU is at the heart of Brexit negotiations started between London and Brussels last June.

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