Number of EU citizens moving to UK plunges post-Brexit – report

Number of EU citizens moving to UK plunges post-Brexit – report

Data shows just 43,000 EU citizens received visas for work, family, study or other purposes in 2021

The number of EU citizens moving to the UK has plunged since Brexit closed the doors to low-paid workers, according to a report. The dramatic decline in migration from the EU has hit hospitality and support services hard. But the Migration Observatory (MO) at the University of Oxford and ReWage, a group of independent experts, have said that while Brexit “exacerbated” chronic labour shortages in Britain, it was not the only cause. Data shows that just 43,000 EU citizens received visas for work, family, study or other purposes in 2021, a fraction of the 230,000 to 430,000 EU citizens coming to the UK a year in the six years to March 2020, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates. Of those who migrated – as opposed to travelling for business or pleasure – to the UK in 2021, EU citizens accounted for just 5% of the number of visas issued. “The figures available so far are therefore consistent with the possibility of a large decline in EU immigration,” says the report, titled “The end of free movement and the low-wage labour force in the UK”. But it cautions against blaming Brexit for the high number of vacancies in the UK, with the pandemic, early retirement among the over-50s, high employment levels across Europe and international labour shortages also contributing factors.

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