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EEA Migration in the UK: Final Report from MAC

Posted: 18th September 2018

Chair's Foreward

In July 2017, the Home Secretary commissioned the MAC to report on the current and likely future patterns of EEA migration and the impacts of that migration. The intention is to provide an evidence base for the design of a new migration system after the end of the implementation period in 2021. In July 2017, we published a briefing paper outlining the patterns of EEA migration and some of the key issues. In March 2018, we published an Interim Update summarising, in a critical way, the 417 responses to our call for evidence.

Today we are publishing our final report, focusing on our assessment of the impact of EEA migration and our recommendations for the UK’s post-Brexit work immigration system. Alongside it we are publishing six reports we commissioned from external researchers. We discuss a wide range of impacts - on wages and unemployment, productivity, innovation, training, consumer prices, house prices, public finances, allocation of public resources, public services, crime and subjective well-being. We have tried to provide an assessment of impacts across all sectors and regions of the UK, and of the differing impacts of different types of migration and on the different parts of the resident population.

This has been a huge task and I have an enormous debt of gratitude to the secretariat and members of the MAC for all their work. I do think we have made progress in extending the evidence base on the impacts of migration but it would be foolish to claim that any of these questions are ever settled. Availability and access to data remain serious constraints on our work and we have tried to be clear about where the evidence is inconclusive.

While we do think that EEA migration has had impacts, many of them seem to be small in magnitude when set against other changes. The fall in the value of the Pound after the referendum vote to leave the EU probably raised prices by 1.7 per cent - this is almost certainly a larger impact than the effect on wages and employment opportunities of residents from all the EEA migration since 2004, although over a different time period.

Prof Alan Manning