Net EU migration to Britain falls to lowest since 2012

LONDON (Reuters) – Net migration of European Union citizens into Britain fell to its lowest level since 2012 in the year to March, but this was more than outweighed by a record influx of non-EU citizens ahead of Brexit, official data showed on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: UK Border control is seen in Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

The Office for National Statistics said 87,000 more EU citizens moved to Britain than left it during the year to March 2018, down from 123,000 a year ago, marking the lowest net migration figure since the year ending in December 2012.

Net migration of EU nationals into Britain has fallen markedly since voters, many motivated by a desire to reduce immigration, opted to leave the bloc in a June 2016 referendum.

Business groups, however, worry that companies will find it harder to hire the staff they need.

“These figures are nothing to celebrate, and given businesses are facing record skills gaps at every level it’s disappointing to see the decline in people from Europe coming here to work,” Jane Gratton, head of business environment and skills at the British Chambers of Commerce, said.

FILE PHOTO: Passenge

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