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KPMG comments on Feb 2018 ONS migration data

KPMG comments on Feb 2018 ONS migration data

Punam Birly, Employment & Immigration Partner at KPMG UK said:


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“The ONS figures show that overall, net migration to the UK has plateaued at around the 244,000 mark over the last quarter. However, the direction of travel since June 2016 is a fall, with the net migration figure coming down from its 336,000 high point.

“In the last quarter the net migration of EU citizens has continued to fall and it is now at its lowest level since December 2012. Around the time of the EU referendum the Government was concerned about a surge of EU nationals coming to the UK, to obtain residency before the rules changed. This has not occurred.

“EU emigration is now at its highest level since June 2009. The EU emigration figure for the last quarter was 130,000 against, 123,000 the previous quarter, 95,000 in June 2016 and 121,000 in June 2009. EU emigration has only been higher once in the last ten years.

“EU immigration is now at its lowest level since March 2014. The EU immigration figure for the last quarter was 220,000 against, 230,000 in the previous quarter, 284,000 in June 2016 and 213,000 in March 2014. EU immigration is now at its lowest level since work restrictions were lifted from Romanian and Bulgarian citizens in January 2014.

“The last quarter saw a significant increase in the net number of non-EU nationals coming to the UK. The net figure rose from 173,000 to 205,000. What we’re seeing is that net migration is now steady overall, with the net migration of EU nationals dropping but non-EU nationals taking their place.

“The fall in EU national net migration is likely to be down to uncertainty around their long-term residency position in the UK, the improving economy in continental Europe and the weakness of the pound relative to the Euro.”

James Stewart, Head of Brexit at KPMG UK said:

“What we’re hearing from clients is that as a result of the uncertainty around Brexit, many are now struggling to recruit and retain to lower skilled positions, which have often been filled by EU citizens in recent years. The construction and hospitality industries are particularly affected and many clients have the ready supply of people as a top risk as we approach March 2019.

“Given the current climate we expect the intense competition for talent to continue. We’re already seeing some wage bills increase and interest in automation and AI pick up. Specialists in financial services and tech’ are also at a premium. Our advice to business is to quantify your talent-gap, listen to employees on retention issues, then be imaginative on recruitment.”


ONS release here:

Notes to editor:

For further information please contact:
Paul Middleton, KPMG Corporate Communications
Tel: (0) 20 7694 2180 / Mobile: 0738 725 7543 / Email:

KPMG Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 207 694 8773

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