April 30, 2008
A million eastern European immigrants have come to the UK since 2004 – but half have now gone.
The estimates emerged in a study by left-leaning think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
The report highlighted the huge gulf between the reality and government predictions that EU expansion would lead to only tens of thousands coming into Britain.
However, it also stressed that numbers were dropping off – and many of the migrants planned to go home.
Eight countries became members of the EU in May 2004 – Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Another two, Bulgaria and Romania, acceded in 2007.
The IPPR examined the impact of the moves on the UK, and calculated that around a million people had arrived over the past four years. However, some 500,000 had since departed.
According to the study, there were 665,000 nationals from all 10 countries living in the UK in the last quarter of 2007.
That was an increase of 548,000 since the first quarter of 2004.
The research team predicted that rapid economic development in the EU states would mean fewer people coming to Britain over the next few years.