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Revealed: Major rise in EU migrants in the Black Country after Brexit vote

By Pete Madeley | Sandwell | Politics | Published:

The number of EU migrants living in the Black Country has shot up since the Brexit vote, new figures show.

The number of EU citizens coming to live in Sandwell has more than doubled

The region had 71,000 migrants from EU countries living here in June this year, a rise of 48 per cent on the figure from June 2016 when the EU referendum took place.

People in the Black Country voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU, with concerns over immigration cited as one of the key reasons behind the strong support for Brexit.

But according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the region has seen some of the highest levels of European migration of anywhere in the UK since the vote.

Nationally, the the number of EU residents has risen by nine per cent.

One in 10 Sandwell residents from the continent

The data shows that the number of EU citizens coming to live in Sandwell more than doubled from 14,000 to 31,000 – a spike of 121 per cent – with migration from Romania and Bulgaria up by a staggering 400 per cent.

One in 10 Sandwell residents is now from Europe, compared with 5.7 per cent across the UK.

In Walsall the number of EU migrants rose from 9,000 in 2016 to 13,000 this year, with European citizens now accounting for 4.7 per cent of the town's population.

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There was also a rise in Dudley, where 7,000 EU migrants now live compared with 5,000 in 2016 – making up 2.2 per cent of the borough's population.

Migration to Wolverhampton has remained steady over the period at around 20,000, meaning one in 12 people in the city is an EU citizen.

The figures also show that migration from non-EU countries to the Black Country dropped by 2.5 per cent over the same period.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said that although the number of EU citizens living in the UK has increased since the referendum, the pace of change was much slower than in the past.

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She maintained that the UK had become 'a less attractive destination' overall, and said the 'political and economic uncertainty of Brexit' may play a role.

“Changes in nationwide migration patterns are likely to affect different areas in different ways, depending on factors like what jobs are on offer in the local economy and what groups of migrants that area has traditionally attracted," she added.

The ONS estimates that more than 3.7 million EU citizens were living in the UK in June.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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