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Young people and migration in the UK

Over the past year, the Migration Observatory has produced a series of briefings looking at data and information on young migrants in the UK – defined as people under the age of 30. This short report ‘Young people and migration in the UK‘ examines some of the key points from the research and reflects on their significance for those interested in migration and young people.  The key points are:

  • Migrants tend to be young when they arrive, typically as young adults coming for work or study, or as children accompanying their parents.
  • Most young people whose first or main language is not English also speak good English. They tend to have lower educational achievement when they start school, but they make faster progress and so the gap is largely eliminated by age 16.
  • Young migrants are more likely to have degree-level qualifications than the UK born.
  • Employment outcomes for young migrants vary depending on their country of origin, gender, and age at arrival in the UK. EEA migrants have high employment rates but are over-represented in low-skilled work; non-EEA migrants are over-represented in high-skilled jobs but have lower employment rates.
  • International students who remain in the UK after their studies have more favourable labour market outcomes than the average across the foreign-born population.
  • It is too early to predict the impact of Brexit on the numbers and outcomes of young migrants living in the UK, although several future scenarios involve a shift in the balance of future migration towards people from non-EU countries.