Long-term migration from the EU has fallen to its lowest level in more than five years in the run-up to Brexit, new figures have revealed.
Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday showed that while 226,000 EU citizens arrived in the UK in the year leading up to March 2018, 138,000 decided to leave.
The addition of 87,000 EU citizens to the UK population is the lowest level of net EU migration since 2012, statisticians said. It is a drop of more than 100,000 from its 2016 peak of 189,000.
“Much of the recent fall is in people from the western European countries that make up the ‘EU15’ group coming to the UK for a definite job,” said Nicola Rogers, who works for the ONS’ Centre for Migration.
“Previously we had seen a decline in the number of EU citizens coming who were looking for work, however, this seems to have stabilised.”
Anti-Brexit groups have shared concerns that the figures prove that “Brexodus” – a mass exit of EU workers from the UK – is underway.
Overall, long-term net migration continued to add to the UK population, with 270,000 more people coming to the country than departing.