Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
EU Migration To UK: Figures Were Underestimated, ONS Admits
22 August 2019, 12:02
The level of migration from the EU to the UK has been underestimated by the Office for National Statistics from the mid-2000s to 2016.
The ONS said the error meant there were almost 30,000 more migrants from eight of the countries which joined the EU in 2004.
These include Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.
The ONS said it may have also overstated migration from non-EU countries.
As a result, the status of the immigration figures compiled by the ONS has been downgraded to "experimental".
"Our adjusted EU net migration estimates show a very similar trend over time but are consistently higher than the unadjusted estimates, indicating that we may have been underestimating net migration from the EU," the ONS said.
"In the year ending March 2016 - the latest point at which we have adjusted data available - EU net migration is around 16% higher than our published estimate."
The ONS also admitted non-EU migration figures were over-estimated.
The ONS said today that more EU citizens from Central and Eastern Europe left the UK than arrived last year as Brexit approaches.
It estimated that 7,000 more people from eight countries, including Poland, left the UK than arrived in the year to March 2019.
Overall, EU immigration fell to its lowest level since 2013.