NIESR Press Note – NIESR reacts to the latest ONS Long Term Migration Estimates

Published: 30th November 2017




The National Institute’s Associate Research Director Dr Heather Rolfe said: “The latest immigration statistics, out this morning, show a fall in net migration to 230,000 in the year ending 2017. This continues a downward trend since June 2016. The fall is largely accounted for by a fall in EU net migration. Fewer EU migrants are coming to the UK to look for work, although the number coming with a job offer has remained broadly similar.

These figures confirm what employers are reporting on the ground, that they are getting fewer applications from EU migrants and higher rates of turnover, including in professional and highly skilled jobs. Employers see this as a result of insecurity about the rights of EU citizens and their families, the fall in the value of sterling and negative rhetoric about immigration. They also reflect the climate of uncertainty about Brexit and the future health of business more generally”.

She added:

Our research shows that not only are EU migrants seeing the UK as a less attractive prospect than in the past, some employers are too – with around 20 per considering transferring some or all of their operations, or focusing future expansion outside the UK. This is partly because of concerns about trade but also because they are worried they won’t be able to recruit the skills and labour they need once the UK leaves the EU”.

She concluded:

There’s been lots of talk about aligning future migration with an industrial strategy, but little in the way of concrete proposals about immigration policy. Employers urgently need to know they will be able to continue to recruit people with all levels of skill from the EU after Brexit. They can then convey a more positive message to current and prospective EU employees about their future in the UK”.




Notes for editors:


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