Annual immigration into the UK is expected to fall by 100,000 even if a smooth deal is agreed very quickly in the Brexit talks, according to economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) as a stronger eurozone economy encourages EU workers to stay put.
Even in the highly unlikely event that Brexit did not take place, the bank argues that as the poor economic conditions that were once driving workers to seek jobs in the UK have now been replaced by stronger conditions at home, the UK would be less attractive to economic migrants.
The weak pound has also made working in the UK less of an option as sterling translates into fewer euros and other continental currencies, though the British jobs market has remained strong – unemployment is at its lowest level in 42 years.
As net immigration has been running at more than 300,000 per year, the estimates would mean several hundred thousand fewer workers available in Britain over the coming years.
A more dramatic change to migration rules for EU citizens could mean the Government hits its target of cutting annual net migration to 100,000, which BAML refers to as a potential outcome from a “hard Brexit”.
If net immigration meant the UK missed out on 350,000 people by 2022, that could impact on the economy, the analysts said.
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