With the UK’s departure from the EU, the British government has regained significant policymaking powers over immigration and borders. Five years on from the referendum, and a year after the end of the transition period, we can now see the first signs of a post-Brexit border regime for Britain. Net migration from non-EU countries reached its highest level on record in 2019, while net migration from EU countries fell three quarters from its 2016 peak. In 2020, net migration from the EU was negative, as large numbers of EU citizens left Britain.
Should these trends continue, the UK is likely to become a very different society in the coming years. Understanding the composition of migration to the UK is therefore critical to understanding its effect on social cohesion, and accordingly the degree of net inflow that the UK should be looking to achieve.