Fraser of Allander Institute
During the 2010 election campaign, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron set the Conservative Party’s migration policy target: to reduce the level of net migration from ‘hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands’.
Since then, net migration increased to an all-time high of 332,000 in 2015. Net migration from EU countries constituted just over 55% of the total (Figure 1).
Uncertainty associated with Brexit appears to have brought an end to this rise – in 2016 net migration registered its sharpest one year decline (25%) in recent history and settled, for now, at 248,000.
It is still well above the ‘tens of thousands’ target; but should we celebrate or worry about this recent change in the trend of net migration? My research shows that a significant reduction in EU immigration would lead, in the long run, to lower GDP per person; which in turn would necessitate higher taxes.