The UK is set to see fewer immigrants arriving in the country when it is formally separated from the European Union, but this is likely to be down to a slump in the economy, according to a new report.
The Social Market Foundation believes that migration into the UK may fall by up to 58 per cent in 2017 because of the effects on the economy from the Brexit vote.
Migration of people from within the EU played a large factor in voters’ decision making processes in the run-up to June’s historic vote. When the UK is ‘divorced’ from Europe, it’s likely that people from EU nations will require UK visas to live and work in Britain.
The Social Market Foundation said that the job losses caused by the predicted slump following the Brexit vote would have immediate and larger repercussions on migration statistics.
Ben Richards, a researcher with the think-tank, told Politics.co.uk: “These forecasts don't take into account actual policy changes on migration – such as the possibility of stricter immigration rules in the event of leaving the EU – but instead just consider how migration tends to fall when unemployment rises.
“The next few years could demonstrate that the state of the economy is more important for net migration than EU membership.”
Historical figures show that net migration to the UK fell during the recession of the early 1990s and jumped as the economy improved and more jobs became available. It rose again after the EU was enlarged in 2004, but again dipped with the recession in 2008/9.
Economic analysts are predicting a severe downturn in the UK’s fortunes after the Brexit vote, which would lead to higher unemployment. The Social Market Foundation believes the consequences of this on migration will be similar to the trends seen in the previous two recessions.