NUM­BER OF EU CIT­I­ZENS FALL

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By MIGUEL RO­DRIGUEZ Data Re­porter

THE num­ber of EU cit­i­zens liv­ing in Buck­ing­hamshire has fallen by around 5,000 since the Brexit ref­er­en­dum, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est es­ti­mates from the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics (ONS).

Mi­gra­tion aca­demics put this trend down to the un­cer­tain­ties sur­round­ing the UK’s de­par­ture from the Euro­pean Union, and the weaker pound.

Data shows that the num­ber of EU mi­grants liv­ing in the area fell from 26,000 in 2016 to 21,000 in June.

This is con­trary to the trend across the UK, where the num­ber of Euro­pean cit­i­zens rose by 9% after the vote.

In Buck­ing­hamshire, the great­est drop was among EU mi­grants com­ing from East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries which gained ac­cessed to the EU after 2004, with an es­ti­mated 33.3% drop in the two years.

In June, Euro­pean cit­i­zens ac­counted for 4% of Buck­ing­hamshire’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion, com­pared to an av­er­age of 5.7% for the United King­dom.

The num­ber of mi­grants from nonEU coun­tries liv­ing in Buck­ing­hamshire rose from 15,000 in 2016 to 17,000 in June this year.

The es­ti­mates are based on the An­nual Pop­u­la­tion Sur­vey (APS).

They count EU cit­i­zens liv­ing at pri- vate ad­dresses and stu­dents in halls of res­i­dence whose par­ents live in the UK.

Stu­dents with par­ents liv­ing abroad or mi­grants liv­ing at com­mu­nal es­tab­lish­ments, like ho­tels or hos­tels, are ex­cluded.

All the numbers were rounded by the ONS to near­est thou­sand.

Madeleine Sump­tion, di­rec­tor of the Mi­gra­tion Ob­ser­va­tory at the Univer­sity of Ox­ford said: “The num­ber of EU cit­i­zens liv­ing in the UK has in­creased since the ref­er­en­dum, but the pace of change is much slower than in the past.

“This is be­cause fewer EU cit­i­zens are choos­ing to come to the UK and more are leav­ing. The UK has be­come a less at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion.

“Most EU cit­i­zens come to the UK for work, and the fall­ing value of the pound means that what they can earn here is now worth less than it was a cou­ple of years ago. The po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty of Brexit may also play a role.

“Changes in na­tion­wide mi­gra­tion pat­terns are likely to af­fect dif­fer­ent ar­eas in dif­fer­ent ways, de­pend­ing on fac­tors like what jobs are on of­fer in the lo­cal econ­omy and what groups of mi­grants that area has tra­di­tion­ally at­tracted.”

Jay Lin­dop, di­rec­tor of the Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Mi­gra­tion at the ONS, added that non-EU net mi­gra­tion was as its high­est since 2004, mainly spurred by Asian peo­ple look­ing for a job or start­ing their stud­ies.

She said: “Net mi­gra­tion con­tin­ues to add to the pop­u­la­tion and has re­mained fairly sta­ble since its peak in 2016. How­ever, there are dif­fer­ent pat­terns for EU and non-EU mi­gra­tion.

“Due to in­creas­ing numbers ar­riv­ing for work and study, nonEU net mi­gra­tion is now at the high­est level since 2004. In con­trast, EU net mi­gra­tion, while still adding to the pop­u­la­tion as a whole, is at the low­est since 2012.

“De­ci­sions to mi­grate are com­plex and peo­ple’s de­ci­sion to move to or from the UK will be in­flu­enced by a range of fac­tors.”

The ONS es­ti­mates that more than 3.7 mil­lion EU cit­i­zens were liv­ing in the UK in June.

PHOTO: DAN KIRK­WOOD/ GETTY IMAGES

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