Will EU Immigration Be Affected By Brexit?

Will EU Immigration Be Affected By Brexit?

Inward migration to the UK from EU member states has dropped to their lowest level since 2013. While there is still a net positive for immigration from other EU member states, these are at lows which haven't been seen for years. The inflow of 201,000 EU migrants ensured a positive net migration figure, as 74,000 opted to leave the country in search of a home elsewhere. With uncertainty rising over the future role of EU migrants in the UK, many have opted to leave the country in order to either return home or move to another member state.

EU Migration Down But Non-EEA Migration Up

It is not all bad news on the immigration front. While there has been a significant drop in net migration from EU member states, there has been a rise in those entering the UK from outside of the EU. 232,000 non-EU citizens chose to make the UK their home in 2018, much of which came from skilled migration visas such as the Tier 2 General Visa.

For many people, this is good news. The UK has actively tried to make itself an extremely popular destination for non-EU migrants, and this figure appears to show there is still plenty of appetite for those looking to make the UK their home. Indeed for many, Brexit has offered the chance for employment as the economy continues to grow and many EU citizens are opting to leave the country.

So is this good news or bad news?

It depends on your point of view.

There are certainly arguments to be made that the addition of skilled labour and the potential reduction of unskilled labour is a good thing. The UK is an innovation hub, and the addition of more skilled labour will help it to compete for the long-term on the world stage. Though of course for EU migrants, there is clearly a case for many of them to opt to leave. This, of course, is a regrettable but predictable reaction to the uncertainty over the future of the rights of these citizens. If there is one thing which has become clear from these figures, its that the nature of Britain's immigration is changing rapidly.

Britain Still A Popular Destination For Migration

Of course, another way of looking at these figures is that the UK is still an ideal place for migrants to relocate to. These figures show a mixed picture, but there is still a significant number of people who are choosing to make the UK their home, even when there is an amount of uncertainty. This is a ringing endorsement many migrants believe in. It isn't surprising this belief exists - the UK has a very strong and vibrant economy, and while uncertainty is certainly not helpful, the UK's resilience is still clearly believed in. As one of the world's leading economies, the UK is a big hitter. Brexit, of course, could harm the UK in the short-term but many believe this will be little more than a hiccup and the UK has a very bright future indeed.

The more enterprising migrants will see Brexit for what it could be: a positive. Yes, the UK's relationship is going to change significantly with its European neighbours but this opens up many potential avenues for development. A recent trip from the US president, Donald Trump, served to highlight the UK's standing and close relationship with countries outside of the EU. It is vital relationships such as these that will help to keep the UK as the strong economy it is.

A Chance For Change

Another big positive for potential migrants is the UK's shifting immigration system. The UK has tried to make it easier for budding entrepreneurs to come to the country to launch their big idea by changing the structure of its entrepreneurial visas. The introduction of the Start-Up and Innovator Visa routes have helped make the UK more attractive than ever to entrepreneurial migrants, especially younger ones. It is this push that will help to push innovation in the UK and help to keep the economy growing. The growth of entrepreneurialism in the UK will also help to turn the UK into an innovation hub that can take the country to the forefront of tackling major global problems (such as climate change, for example).

The UK really is an ideal place for innovation to thrive, and Brexit may indeed actually force the UK into becoming significantly more entrepreneurial. By creating the ideal set of visas, the UK will spark a new wave of innovation that will make it the world leader in many developing technologies. This will help to diversify the economy and create a huge number of jobs. So while it is easy to see the negatives in the numbers, there really is still a lot for those looking at the UK to be excited about.


It is clear Brexit is going to help the UK to evolve. This is a great thing and shows off one of the UK's greatest assets: resilience. The UK has had tough times in the past and has always come back better than before. Whatever Brexit brings, it is unlikely that this little island is going to struggle for long. Considering some of the past challenges that the country has faced, Brexit may be a pretty low key affair.

So if you are looking for a place to migrate to and are thinking about the UK, get in touch today and speak to a member of our immigration lawyers. We can help to guide you through the visa system and give you the platform you need to flourish in the UK.

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