EU and UK Migration

What’s missing in the data?

Oh, many did! Many of the 1.2 million EU folk worked in the EU until their retirement. At any one time the figure for UK workers in the EU is around 800,000 workers and dependants and that’s fairly consistent.

During the 1970s and 80s, when there was little in the way or work in the UK, UK builders regularly used to work in the continent. It’s what Auf Wiedersehen was based on, in its time.

In white collar work, especially for big corporates, for 6 months to 2 years at a time or more, this happens regularly. So it still goes on, now more than ever. It is an extremely regular occurrence. The issue, as always is how it’s portrayed and presented in the media and of course, my bug bear, the mathematical illiteracy of the readership of the main body of that portion of the press*.

The problem with the portrayal is that it assumes the UK is the only place EU migrants can go and the “EU” is the only place UK migrants can go. Both of those are false. It is systemically combinatoric.

Overall Migration

There are 27 different countries within the EU and UK residents can live and work anywhere within it (The headers are a bit misleading. They mean “UK born citizens residing in the EU” and “EU born citizens residing in the UK” from left to right).

So for each country in the middle column, there is a different proportion of people on each “side” who go to the other.

The above table is from migration watch and what is missing from here? Clue, this does not show migration of non-UK, EU countries to other, non-UK, EU countries. We don’t know how many folk move from Germany to France, say, from this table. Hence, we have this great big hole in the systemic knowledge of migration and so can’t determine if the UK is really even the highest target for EU economic migrants and thus can’t make a comparison between the big apple shaped box of apples that we consider the EU to be and a single cabbage, which we are. It’s not a like for like comparison.

So let’s look at the figures for the distribution of immigrants by citizenship. This is a bit of a pain of a graph for anyone to read, let alone those without a solid analytical background, but I’ll dissect.

“Nationals” means “EU Nationals” Non-Nationals are non-EU nationals. The proportion of the migration path in all countries relative to EU-28 migration figures are shown as a solid bar. The total height of the bar show migrants as a share of the ordinary resident population. Hence, Luxembourg which is a nation state with a very small population, has a very high percentage of EU migrants. Only 55% of their population is indigenous. By comparison, the UK has a 91% born in UK, lives in UK population. This is also where the yellow and blue bar separations come in. EU member state migrants in the immigration set are shown in yellow. Hence, of the 9% of the UK that is from an immigrant background,only 5 percentage points of that are EU migrants. Hence the 3.3 million in the previous. So that’s how those numbers link

Where does the UK rank in EU nationals as a relative proportion of all immigrants? Nowhere particularly important. Certainly not the most for EU nationals.

Hence, the UK very definitely is not overrun by immigrants of any type. That’s codswallop. Germany, Belgium and Spain can make it work and they have it worse than us (note the Spanish ones are in no small part, us!!).

Furthermore, UK migrants in Spain and Ireland say, when adjusted for population size, make up 309,000/46,064,604 = 0.7% and 255,000/4,741,357 = 5.4% of the population all on their own.

For the Brexiteers that are about to shout, just digest that for a minute. There are more UK citizens living in Ireland than all EU nationals as a whole living in the UK as a proportion of the total population…. Of 27 member states… which they have screamed is a drain on public services!? Not that it was a measure of it anyway.

The UK has more people living and working in the EU than the EU as a whole, as the sum of all 27 member state immigrants, has here.

Worth repeating.

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