Net migration has dropped to its lowest level in three years following the Brexit vote after a surge in the number of EU nationals leaving the UK, say figures released by ONS.
The figures show net migration 81,000 to 246,000 in the year to March this year.
Most of the change is due to a decrease in EU citizen net migration, down 51,000.
The government’s aim is to bring net migration down to 100,000.
“It was good to see a third quarter running of net migration figures coming down,” said Brandon Lewis, Minister of Immigration.
There are those who disagree though, with the CBI voicing their worries about business groups, “The loss of these vital skills should concern us all.”
The figures, release by the Office for National Statistics, show a rise of 17,000 in the departure of citizens from the so-called EU8 – Slovenia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.
An ONS spokesperson said, “These results indicate that the EU referendum result may be influencing people’s decision to migrate into and out of the UK, particularly EU and EU8 citizens.
“It is too early to tell if this is an indication of a long-term trend,” she added.
Whilst the figures from ONS show a decrease in immigration into the UK, they show a rise in emigration.
The number of people moving abroad to work increased by 21,000 to 122,000.
“Given unemployment is currently at its lowest level ever (4.5 per cent), without the 3 million EU citizens living here the UK would have an acute labour shortage,” said Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors.
“Signs that it is becoming a less attractive place to live and work are a concern.”