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EU migration isn’t nearly as big as non-EU migration

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 17.11.2019

Claim: Asked by a BBC listener what proportion of UK immigrants come from the EU, Boris Johnson declared “from memory the total net migration proportions are about 50-50” before adding “but I may be wrong about that.”

InFact: 219,000 more non-EU citizens moved to the UK than left in the year ending March 2019, according to the Office of National Statistics. By contrast, net migration of EU citizens was only 59,000. That’s nearly four non-EU immigrants for every EU citizen. Given how the Tories are weaponising migration as the main reason for quitting the EU, one would have thought the Prime Minister would know the basic numbers. 

Since Johnson made his remarks, the ONS has released the data for the year to end-June. Non-EU migration has gone up to 229,000 net and EU migration has fallen to 48,000. As a result non-EU migration is now almost five times as big.

He probably doesn’t know either that European citizens* contribute more to the public purse than migrants from elsewhere or indeed native Brits. So Johnson’s policy of squeezing EU migration and increasing non-EU migration is bad for the public finances too. 

* Citizens of the EU plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland

The paragraph on the end-June data was added on December 1

The headline and excerpt were updated on December 4

Edited by Hugo Dixon

Tags: Categories: Migration

3 Responses to “EU migration isn’t nearly as big as non-EU migration”

  • We all know that Johnson has no grasp of details and says the first thing that comes into his head, but this is now looking like deliberate lying. Interviewers need to mug up the facts and make sure they challenge these lies.

  • Seriously, who expected Johnson to come up with checkable facts? Johnson needs porkies because he’s the man who has to get the UK out of the EU as the messenger boy of a number of very wealthy people who do not want the EU checking up on their tax evasion and their handling of dirty money from all over the world. A few people will get absurdly rich after the UK has left the EU and then falls apart. No ordinary man in the street will see any of that money and the wealthy tax dodgers won’t care about the UK falling apart as they won’t live here anyway. A nice place in the sunshine with lots of poor workers to do the chores will suit them fine.

  • What especially irritates me about the Tories’ immigration policy, is that they never mention that this and future generations will have their right to live or work in Europe taken from them. And indeed interviewers forget to ask them. Good example was Sophy Ridge’s interview with Tory Chairman Brandon Lewis. Not a word about the loss of rights for UK nationals.
    The exercising of tight controls on EU nationals won’t be , to use a good German word, an Einbahnstrasse (one way street). European countries will give like for like. Not that Theresa May was any better, referring to those wanting to move around Europe as ‘citizens of nowhere’. This is the product of an insular mindset. The new blue passport may be a nice colour, but it will contain less rights and freedoms than the existing one.

    I am hopeful that maybe Labour will take a slightly more enlightened approach to freedom of movement, but there again, given Corbyn’s vagueness over the whole EU issue, I’m not holding my breath.