Migration to UK plunges in year after Brexit, driven by EU citizens

LONDON (Reuters) – Net migration to Britain fell sharply in the 12 months after last year’s Brexit referendum, with more than three-quarters of the drop due to EU citizens leaving and fewer arriving, official data showed on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: UK Border control is seen in Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Net migration tumbled by 106,000 to 230,000 people in the 12 months to June, the Office for National Statistics said.

Some 82,000 of the overall decline was due to EU citizens leaving Britain and fewer arriving after the June 2016 vote in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, leaving net migration from the bloc at the lowest level since June 2013.

“These changes suggest that Brexit is likely to be a factor in people’s decision to move to or from the UK – but decisions to migrate are complex and other factors are also going to be influencing the figures,” said ONS statistician Nicola White.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, a promise first made by the government in 2010 and designed to reassure Britons worried about the impact immigration had on public services.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg

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