Net migration from the EU to the U.K. is at its lowest level since bloc was expanded in 2003, according to the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday.
The difference between the arrival and departure of EU nationals in the year ending June 2019 was 48,000, according to ONS, showing the lowest level since EU8 countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) joined to the bloc in 2003.
“The fall in immigration for work has mainly been because of a decrease in EU citizens coming to the UK looking for work, particularly those from the EU8,” said ONS in a statement.
“While there are still more EU citizens moving to the UK than leaving, EU net migration has fallen since 2016, driven by fewer EU arrivals for work,” said ONS spokesperson while commenting on the latest figures in the statement.
“In contrast, non-EU net migration has gradually increased for the past six years, largely as more non-EU citizens came to study,” the statement added.
The U.K. decided to leave the bloc in a June 2016 referendum.
The country has negotiated a withdrawal agreement under previous Prime Minister Theresa May which failed to receive the green light from parliament in a series of votes.
Replacing May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reached a revised deal with the EU, but he failed to receive support to legislate it after MPs voted against his proposal to fast-track it to leave the union on the Oct. 31 deadline.
The EU has granted a three-month extension until the end of January 2020 after Johnson was forced to request one by parliament.
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