UK net migration fell by 18 per cent to 273,000 following the Brexit vote, the lowest level in more than two years, partly driven by a rise in emigration as Poles and other east Europeans left Britain.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics on Thursday represent the period from July to September – the first full quarter since the Brexit referendum. They show that immigration fell slightly by 23,000 to 596,000 in the year to September, while emigration rose by 26,000 to 323,000, reports Helen Warrell.

While overall EU immigration was pushed up by a record number of arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria – which rose by a quarter to 74,000 – this increase was partially offset by a small drop in the number of migrants from Eastern Europe entering the country.

One of the most striking developments was the increase in the number of those from eastern Europe emigrating from the UK, which rose by nearly a third to 39,000.

For the past seven years, the government has been striving to meet its target of bringing net migration down to below 100,000.

Nicola White, Head of International Migration Statistics at the ONS said:

Although we have seen a fall in net migration of EU8 citizens there have been continued increases in immigration from Romania and Bulgaria, so it is too early to say what effect the referendum result has had on long-term international migration.

There has been a statistically significant decrease in non-EU long-term students immigrating to the UK while a small increase was seen in the number of study visas issued. It is too early to tell if this is an indication of a long-term trend.

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