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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

“May’s dogmatic approach to migration is completely unsustainable,” says Green MEP

26 May 2017

The Office for National Statistics yesterday released new figures showing that net migration dropped significantly in 2016 to +240,000, a decrease of 84,000 since 2015.

This figure was largely driven by EU citizens leaving the UK – 117,000 left in 2016, up 31,000 from the previous year. It’s likely that many of those were skilled migrants, with 43,000 departing in order to begin a definite job elsewhere.

This movement was mirrored by British citizens, of whom 134,000 left the UK in 2016 – 80% with a definite job lined up abroad. [1]

Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP and the Green Party’s spokesperson on migration, responded:

“The latest migration figures from the Office of National Statistics are deeply concerning. EU citizens are leaving the UK in vast numbers – some 117,000 individuals chose to exit the UK last year, an increase of 31,000 on 2015.

These figures might look good in Theresa May’s notebook, as she continues her obsessive quest to reduce net immigration to the ‘tens of thousands’. In reality, this exodus of workers is doing huge damage to the UK’s economy.

At present, roughly 20% of all employees in British agriculture come from abroad, and about 30% of people working in the UK’s food manufacturing sector are migrants. This trend is mirrored across other sectors, from healthcare to retail and hospitality.

With UK unemployment levels at their lowest since 1975, who does the Government expect to fill these gaping holes in its economy?

The statistics serve as a stark warning – Theresa May needs to stop her reckless and damaging campaign of hostility towards EU nationals, and provide reassurance of their right to remain in the UK post-Brexit. Her dogmatic approach to migration is completely unsustainable. If she can’t see this, I fear we face grave challenges ahead.”