Author: National Newsdesk
NET migration from the EU to the UK has fallen to its lowest level in nearly five years, official figures show.
An estimated 101,000 more people from the bloc arrived than left in 2017, according to the first data for a full calendar year since the Brexit vote.
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The total is the lowest for any 12-month period since the year to March 2013, when it stood at 95,000.
Scottish Government Migration Minister Ben Macpherson said the Office for National Statistics (ONS), figures further backed up the “overwhelming consensus” that Scotland should have its own immigration policies.
The figures showed the number of EU citizens coming to the UK “looking for work”, decreased by a third (33%) from 55,000 in 2016 to 37,000 last year
Emigration of EU nationals was up by a fifth year-on-year, with an estimated outflow of 139,000. Net migration from eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 – including Poland – has fallen from 42,000 in the year before the referendum to 6000 in 2017
And net migration from longer-term member states, such as Spain and France, has almost halved since the vote, falling from 84,000 to 46,000 last year
Macpherson said: “Migration is crucial to Scotland’s economic growth and future prosperity, and the UK Government’s current immigration policies are becoming increasingly detrimental to Scotland. They are are both wrong-headed and economically damaging.
“While we welcome measures for a temporary exemption for doctors and nurses from the monthly Tier 2 quota, we believe the UK Government should now go a step further and remove its net migration target altogether. A failure to do so could cost Scotland £10 billion in GDP by 2040.
“There is now an overwhelming consensus on the need for a Scotland-specific approach to migration, a position supported across society, businesses, policy bodies, higher education and the academic community.”