EU migration is falling. But things are getting worse

by Luke Lythgoe | 22.02.2018

There was a false premise at the heart of the Leave campaign: that high EU migration was hurting public services and stopping Brits getting well-paying jobs. The facts since the referendum have not borne this out. Net migration from the EU has more than halved, according to the latest ONS figures. And yet things are worse.

If we had up-to-date numbers, they might show that net EU migration has actually ground to a halt. The latest stats, up to the year ending September 2017, show annual net migration from the EU was 90,000, compared to 189,000 in the year to June 2016. Net migration from outside the EU – which was consistently higher than EU migration before the referendum – is roughly the same as in 2016.

So, Brexiters may argue, the referendum vote has had the desired effect. But are people feeling the benefits promised them by the Leave campaign?

Quite the opposite. The NHS struggled through one of its worst winter crises on record, with staffing shortages compounded by EU nurses leaving the health service in greater numbers than they are joining. Brexit will also means less funding for the NHS. It is damaging the economy – and that’s even before we’ve left. Only today it was announced that Britain’s economy grew slower than first thought in the final three months of 2017. Boris Johnson’s £350 million per week pledge has never looked more like the lie it was.

What about the prospect of getting a job or higher wages? Yesterday we saw unemployment rise for the first time since the Brexit vote, although it’s still too early to say whether this is the beginning of a long-term trend.

Meanwhile, wages are being squeezed by price hikes brought on by the fall in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote. The Bank of England has calculated that wage growth will be knocked by 5% by the end of this year compared to what was expected before the referendum. Again, that’s before Brexit has even happened. The government’s own economic analysis predicts that every Brexit scenario will leave the country economically worse off than it would be if we stayed in the EU.

EU citizens leaving the UK does not solve these problems. The proportion of working-age EU nationals in employment is 81%, compared to 76% for UK citizens, according to new labour market. They are paying more in taxes than they are taking out of the welfare system. Their skills and hard work make our economy hum and our public services run smoothly. That’s not to mention European entrepreneurs – job creators – likely to be put off setting up shop in Britain thanks to Brexit.

Only by cancelling this destructive, distracting Brexit can we focus on the real issues blighting our country.

Want more InFacts?

Click here to get the newsletter

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Choose which newsletters you want to subscribe to (required)
    Daily InFacts NewsletterWeekly InFacts NewsletterBoth the daily and the weekly Newsletter

    By clicking 'Sign up to InFacts' I consent to InFacts's privacy policy and being contacted by InFacts. You can unsubscribe at any time by emailing [email protected]

    Edited by Hugo Dixon

    5 Responses to “EU migration is falling. But things are getting worse”

    • It is a pity that the BBC does not report the falling immigration figures alongside the difficulties of recruitment in the NHS and other organizations, followed up with statistics on unnecessary fatalities in our hospitals. The Brexit enthusiasts have to understand the connection between reduced immigration and their beloved NHS. None of this was mentioned in the referendum…and what a bad job we made of selling the benefits of EU membership.

      I read recently of doctors and nurses from outside of the UK applying to come here for work but being turned down by the Home Office because their salaries were not high enough! Left-hand and right-hand issues, but we are getting used to that.

    • Since 24th June 2016, nationality has become an issue in the UK. it is not surprising that EU nationals feel that they are not welcome in the country. Brexit is basically saying ” We in the UK are going to look after ourselves in the first instance; if we need your skills or expertise we will allow you to come and work here but it is ” UK First ” -in fact it is ” England First ” as it is the English who are driving Brexit not the UK- if the latter includes Scotland and Northern Ireland.

      In addition and as a consequence of this nationalist thinking, we are experiencing a deterioration in public and political discourse not seen for a very long time. Judges treated as enemies of the people, politicians who vote ” the wrong way ” called traitors,
      civil servants accused of distorting the truth, the House of Lords threatened if they do not do their patriotic duty and approve the Withdrawal bill without amendment.
      Where will it all end ? Is all this actually happening in the UK ?

    • The EU could have done more to protect its citizens, i.e. us, from immoral actions of unprincipled Brexiters. It could have refused to recognise the referendum for starters, (as it didn’t include expatriates, among other faults). The EU is an ethical body, why is it cooperating in any way with rogue activity which will deprive Britons of human rights?

    • As someone following a German expats Forum based here, it does make sad reading. People who came here considering this to be a dynamic, outward-looking and tolerant country, but now just sick of it all. And these are often well situated, relatively secure people.
      I think this will backfire on us in future generations.

    • I too thought that these things couldn’t and wouldn’t happen, at least to this extent, in the UK.

      In a way though, it has been enlightening. We have shown that we suffer from the same faults that every other society has, to a greater or lesser degree. I think we had forgotten that and assumed we were superior in many ways.

      We’re not.

      That realisation could be very helpful to us in the future, and make us a better managed and more cooperative country. Our system of government needs some modernizing. I hope that will be one of the many lessons we learn from this fiasco.