European migrants ‘leaving UK’

The majority of immigrants to the UK from new EU member states have already returned home, a thinktank said on Wednesday.

According to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), the rate of immigration to Britain from the most recent EU member states is slowing.

Workers from Poland, who are now the largest foreign national group in the UK, are the most likely to return to their homeland, the report says.

Seventy per cent of Poles told IPPR they held the UK in a more positive light than they expected, but two-thirds said they had made the right decision to return home.

According to IPPR, about 665,000 people from countries that acceded to the EU on May 1st 2004 still reside in Britain.

The thinktank says that economic migrants from the central and eastern European member states are more likely to be employed than Britons, with “very few” claiming state benefits.

Polish migrants in the UK work on average 46 hours per week, IPRR claims, four hours more than their British counterparts.

Today’s report also claims that the influx of European migrants had influenced the UK way of life in other ways, with 44 million pints of Poland’s leading beer brands – Lech and Tyskie – being sold every year.

IPPR predicts that immigration levels from new EU member states to Britain will slow in the coming years as economic conditions in their own countries improve.

“Migration from the new EU member states has happened on a staggering scale but seems to have been largely positive for all concerned,” commented IPPR’s head of migration research Dr Danny Sriskandarajah.

“Our findings challenge the widely-held assumptions that most of those who have arrived are still here, that more will come and most will stay permanently.”