Net migration at lowest level in five years, statistics reveal

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

Net migration from the EU fell by 75,000 in the year to September, dropping to its lowest level in five years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) say the drop comes after record levels of migration in 2015 and early 2016.

The overall net migration was estimated to be 244,000 in the 12-month period from September 2016, a drop of 29,000.

Fewer EU Citizens are migrating to the UK and more are leaving than in previous years. However, overall a greater number are still arriving in the country than departing.

Nicola White, ONS head of international migration statistics, said the figures show that non-EU net migration is now larger than EU net migration.

She added: "However, migration of both non-EU and EU citizens are still adding to the UK population.

"Brexit could well be a factor in people's decision to move to or from the UK, but people's decision to migrate is complicated and can be influenced by lots of different reasons."

Caroline Nokes says the Government wants EU citizens in the UK to have certainty about their future. Credit: PA

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said: "We are committed to controlled and sustainable migration - bringing net migration down to the tens of thousands.

"This means an immigration system that attracts and retains people who come to work and bring significant benefits to the UK but does not offer an open door to those who don't.

"Net migration remains 29,000 lower than it was a year ago and once we leave the EU we will be able to put in place an immigration system which works in the best interest of the whole of the UK.

"At the same time, we have been clear that we want EU citizens already living here to have certainty about their future and the citizens' rights agreement reached in December provided that."