A total of 122,000 nationals of European Union (EU) member states left the United Kingdom between April 2016 and March 2017, according to Britain’s Office for National Statistics. This was 33,000 (37%) more than in the previous twelve-month period and the highest outflow in nine years.
The sharpest increases were among Eastern Europeans. Departures by nationals of Rumania and Bulgaria went up by about 100%, while the rate for other Eastern Europeans (Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Slovenes) increased by 58%.
On the other hand, the number of EU nationals arriving in Britain decreased by 19,000 or 7%.
While net migration of EU nationals to Britain remained positive, with the number of arrivals exceeding the number of departures by 126,000, this was still 29% lower than in the period ending in March 2016.
The flight from the United Kingdom accelerated in the wake of the June 2016 vote in favour of leaving the EU following a campaign marked by the issue of reducing immigration.
The status of the 3.2 million EU nationals living in Britain and the one million Britons residing in other EU countries is at the heart of exit negotiations launched in June last between London and Brussels.
The Brussels Times