Europe’s Migration Crisis?

UK Border, Terminal 4, London Heathrow

On 22 March 2016, the RGS-IBG will hold the latest in its series of ’21st Century Challenges: Policy Forum’ discussions, considering the major environmental, social and economic challenges facing the United Kingdom now and over coming decades. The Policy Forum event will be complemented by a discussion meeting aimed at a public audience, on ‘Integrated Britain’ (15 March).

Professional interest in the topic of the meeting is required. These events are designed to bridge the gap between evidence and policy and provide the opportunity for attendees to share their expertise and knowledge on a topic to contribute to the advancement of evidence-informed policy-making. 

Find out more and register to attend the Policy Forum.


Net migration (the difference between emigration and immigration) in the UK reached 336,000 in the year ending June 2015; the highest estimate of net migration in any 12 month period (16,000 more than the previous highest estimate in June 2005). Net migration has exceeded 100,000 a year every year since 1998. In 2014, 13% of those migrating to the UK were British Nationals, 32% were nationals of other EU countries and 45% were non-EU nationals. Work and study were given most frequently as the reason for migrants’ entry.

The UK is not alone in Europe in seeing increases in the numbers of migrants in recent years. Immigration of foreign nationals to Germany stood at 266,000 in 2009 and by 2013 had more than doubled, to 607,000. Italy and France are closely behind Germany and the UK in having the largest net inflow of foreign nationals of the EU28 countries.[1]

Alongside these longer-term trends, more than 487,000 migrants, a mixed flow of migrants and refugees, have arrived at Europe’s Mediterranean shores since January 2015, the highest number since record-keeping began.[2] The largest numbers are from Syria, accounting for more than 50% of arrivals last year, a tiny fraction of the 4 million refugees displaced in their region of origin through civil war. Instability and lack of economic opportunity have driven further significant numbers from Eritrea, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia and Mali to seek new lives in Europe.

How can understanding the dynamics of migration (determinants and drivers), migrants’ origins and experiences, help policy-makers in Europe and in the UK to respond appropriately to increasing international migration?

What are the impacts – positive and negative – of increasing net migration on the UK at different scales – national and local? What are the realities of the impacts on productivity, jobs and services?

Finally, with the number of migrants entering the UK unlikely to decrease, at least in the near to medium term, how can the UK adjust to the new reality of migration in the hundreds of thousands each year, ensuring the best possible outcomes for the UK’s economy, society and for migrants themselves?

[1] UK Migration Statistics. House of Commons Library Briefing Paper Number SN06077. Oliver Hawkins. 3 December 2015.

[2] Migration Policy Institute.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s