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Brexiting EU citizens bring UK migration down

August 24, 2017

An increase in EU nationals leaving the United Kingdom has pushed down the country's net migration, official data reveal. A drop of 51,000 people in net EU migration has brought the number to its lowest in four years.

UK Border
Image: picture-alliance/empics/S. Parsons

Immigration figures released on Thursday reveal that net migration to the UK has dropped by 25 percent as EU citizens take the hint following the 2016 Brexit vote and increasingly decide to leave.

Between March 2016 and March 2017, the numbers fell from 327,000 to 246,000 people. More than half of the drop is attributed to an increase in EU workers leaving the United Kingdom and fewer arriving.

Net migration of EU citizens fell by 51,000, to 127,000 people - its lowest level since 2013.

Britain’s Conservative government has consistently failed to meet an election promise to reduce the numbers to the "tens of thousands," renewing concerns about immigration that pushed many Britons to back the Brexit.

Farmers fear Brexit

Fudging the numbers

Prime Minister Theresa May is under pressure to drop foreign students from immigration numbers, British papers reported on Wednesday.

Ninety-seven percent of international students leave the UK after their studies, The Guardian reported, suggesting that immigration levels are much lower than previously thought.

It was claimed that tens of thousands of international students remain in the country illegally after completing their studies, but new exit checks introduced last year found evidence to the contrary, according to The Telegraph.

Dropping the 73,000 foreign students from the figures would help May reach her goal of bringing net migration to below 100,000 people a year.

sa/mkg (Reuters, AP)