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Brexodus? National Insurance Number registrations for key EU migrant group hit lowest level since 2004

21 Jun 2017

National Insurance Numbers (NINos) issued to a key group of European Union migrants have fallen to their lowest levels since these countries joined the EU, a new analysis from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford shows today (June 21, 2017).

In the new analysis, Brexodus? Migration and uncertainty after the EU referendum the Observatory shows that the number of migrants from the so-called “A8” (or EU8) countries – which includes Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia – registering for National Insurance Numbers in the first quarter of 2017 fell to just over 26,000 from just under 40,000 in the same period in 2016.

This is the lowest level of A8 registrations for National Insurance Numbers in a first quarter of the year since 2004 – before these countries joined the EU – and a fraction of the 2007 peak of more than 111,000 registrations.

This follows recent net migration data showing that A8 net migration declined from 46,000 in 2016 to just 5,000 in 2016 – with a margin of error of 14,000, meaning that more A8 nationals may actually have left than arrived.

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, acting director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said: “We are seeing indications that the UK has become less of an attractive destination for migrants from Poland and the other A8 countries since the referendum on leaving the EU.”

Many migrants from the A8 countries are in lower income jobs, and the decline in the value of the pound has made their earnings worth less in comparison to their home currencies.

Dr Vargas-Silva added: “Aside from the economic factors, other things, like the lack of clarity about their long-term legal status, and highly publicised xenophobic attacks, may also have affected EU citizens’ choice to come to the UK, or to remain here.”


For further information contact:

Rob McNeil, Head of Media and Communications, The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.
e: robert.mcneil@compas.ox.ac.uk; Tel: 01865 274568; Mob: 07500 970081

Notes for editors:

About the Migration Observatory

  • Based at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, the Migration Observatory provides independent, authoritative, evidence-based analysis of data on migration and migrants in the UK, to inform media, public and policy debates, and to generate high quality research on international migration and public policy issues. The Observatory’s analysis involves experts from a wide range of disciplines and departments at the University of Oxford.
  • The Migration Observatory is funded by: the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, and has also received support from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
  • The Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford conducts high quality research in order to develop theory and knowledge, inform policy-making and public debate, and engage users of research within the field of migration. For further details see the COMPAS website: compas.ox.ac.uk/.

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