Commenting on the migration statistics for the year to September 2017, published today by the ONS, Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“These figures are no cause for celebration. At a time when businesses in every part of the country are seeing record skills shortages, falls in the levels of migration from the EU, for whatever reason, will only exacerbate the problem.

Our recent survey work showed that only 2% of firms look to hire directly from the EU in the first instance, preferring to hire locally. When skilled staff simply can’t be found, a fall in migration makes it harder for firms to maintain their existing performance – much less grow their business. The fact that skilled people are choosing not to come to the UK to work is a cause for real concern.”