Theresa May looks unlikely to meet her migration target
Experts at the OBR forecasted net migration to be 196,000 at the end of the decade, although it represents a sharp drop from the 273,000 recorded in the year to September 2016.
The OBR said there was still “considerable uncertainty” over migration numbers because the upcoming Brexit negotiations could have a significant impact on Britain’s border controls.
However, they conceded that net migration would still be responsible for around half of Britain’s population growth over the coming years.
Migrants are also set to account for a 700,000 surge in employment during the next five years.
Net migration is predicted to drop to 232,000 in 2017, with a further decrease to 226,000 in 2018.
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OBR board member Charlie Bean said: “Whatever controls are in place you will continue to see migration flows.”
Meanwhile, the Treasury’s economic experts predicted UK employment should rise from 31.9 million to more than 32.5 million in 2021.
Net migration figures are forecast to be 196,000 by 2020
Taking back control of UK borders was a leading pledge for the Leave campaign during the EU referendum and was a key reason behind many people’s decisions to vote for Brexit.
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The news comes after EU chiefs demanded European nationals who arrive in Britain over the next two years are allowed to stay permanently.
Under informal Brexit rules it was expected that the cut-off point would be the date of the referendum.
But pressure is expected from the EU to push the cut-off date to 2019 – which could trigger a huge rush of last-minute EU nationals settling in the UK.