Deciding upon residency rules for European Union migrants currently living in the UK after the 'Leave' vote in the EU referendum has been a big source of debate.
One particularly prominent issue has been the fate of EU migrants currently residing in the UK, along with their UK counterparts residing in other parts of the EU. Theresa May has refused to commit to guaranteeing EU migrants’ rights to reside, saying UK citizens’ rights would need to be guaranteed in return.
Yet it is not clear exactly who the EU migrants residing in the UK are. Much has been made of net migration figures showing a substantial net inflow of EU citizens into the UK, but much less analysis has focused on the stock of EU migrants currently in the UK. Which year did they arrive? Which country did they come from? These questions are crucially important, as they are likely to frame the negotiations over rights for EU and UK citizens currently residing outside their home country; and also for future immigration rules more broadly.
This briefing analyses the latest data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), from the first quarter of 2016, to examine which EU citizens are currently residing in the UK, when they arrived, their characteristics, and the implications for a future deal between the UK and EU on immigration policy.