LONDON: The number of people who moved to Britain from outside the European Union last year was the highest since 2004, according to statistics published here on Thursday.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its latest official long-term international migration statistics for the UK for the year ending September 2018. The report showed that 627,000 people moved to Britain (immigration) and 345,000 people left the country (emigration) over the year.
Net migration has continued to add to the population of Britain, with an estimated 283,000 more people moving to the UK with the intention to stay for 12 months or more than leaving in the year ending September 2018.
Analysis of the data suggests that net migration, immigration and emigration figures have remained broadly stable overall since the end of 2016.
But ONS said there are now different patterns for EU and non-EU migration, with non-EU net migration at its highest since 2004. This follows a gradual increase in the number of non-EU immigrants over the past five years for both work and study.
The figures show that migration continues to add to the population of the UK. However, EU net migration has fallen to a level last seen in 2009 due mainly to a decrease in EU immigration.
ONS said more citizens from central and eastern European countries (known as EU8 countries, which joined the EU in 2004) left Britain than arrived, with the number of arrivals falling and the number of departures increasing. This recent pattern for EU8 citizens differs from that for all other EU countries, where Britain has continued to see more people arriving than leaving, the study showed.
ONS said the number of immigrants to Britain who arrive for work has fallen to its lowest level since 2014 and follows a fall in the number of EU citizens arriving to work in Britain.
At the same time, the overall number of people arriving in Britain to study has increased, with non-EU student immigration at its highest level since 2011.
ONS statistician Jay Lindop, deputy director of the Center for International Migration, said: “Different patterns for EU and non-EU migration have emerged since mid-2016, when the EU referendum vote took place. Due to increasing numbers arriving for work and study, non-EU net migration is now at the highest level since 2004.
“In contrast, EU net migration, while still adding to the population as a whole, has fallen to a level last seen in 2009. We are also now seeing more EU8 citizens — those from central and eastern European countries, for example Poland — leaving the UK than arriving.” (Xinhua)