After the Brexit referendum, more EU citizens are leaving Britain, while less Europeans are coming in. As the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show, 2016 brought 84,000 less migrants, compared to the previous year. The net migration of 248,000 people is the lowest number of yearly newcomers in over three years. Immigration from EU countries decreased by 43,000 people while emigration increased by 31,000, which makes Europeans the main factor behind the trend with a net change of minus 74,000.
In the run-up to the elections, Theresa May declared to bring net migration below 100,000, a promise that dates back to the Conservative 2010 manifesto. The target has widely been criticized as insubstantial because it is highly dependent on the individual behavior of many different groups, like temporary students from abroad or British pensioners retiring elsewhere. Whether the numbers continue to wane hinges mainly on the outcome of the upcoming elections and the future development of Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU.
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