A report from the Office of National Statistics has found that record numbers of EU nationals are now living and working in the UK. The report reveals that UK companies employed an estimated 2.38 million workers from EU member states between July and September this year, which is the highest number the ONS has recorded since records began 20 years ago.
While UK employment fell by an estimated 14,000 to just over 32 million, EU employment rose by 112,000 when compared with the same period last year. This is the first time a year-on-year comparison has been made, and is due to the result of last year’s referendum.
With fears that Brexit would lead to an exodus of EU born workers leaving the UK, especially in the public sector, the results of this report are surprising. Alp Mehmet, vice-chairman of campaign group Migration Watch UK, said the figures “show that predictions of a Brexodus – an outflow of EU workers – are nonsense”.
Matt Hughes, ONS senior statistician, added that: “The number of non-UK nationals in work is still rising, albeit more slowly than in the last couple of years. However, this is being driven by EU citizens; the number of non-EU nationals working in the UK has fallen in the last year.”
A lot of the increase is being put down to the increasing numbers of citizens of Romania and Bulgaria working in the UK. In the period of July to September, the report shows that an estimated 347,000 nationals from the two countries were working in the UK, which is up 90,000 from the same period last year.
The number of workers from most eastern European countries has fallen During the most recent period there was an estimated 1.035 employees from the EUA8 countries, which includes Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia were working in the UK, which is lower than last year. There’s been an increase of 42,000 in the number of people being employed from Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
The ONS report said: “Since January to March 2009, the number of non-UK nationals from outside the EU working in the UK has been broadly flat but the number of non-UK nationals from EU countries working in the UK has continued to increase.” Statistics published earlier this year revealed EU migrants account for up to one in 10 employees in some sectors. With the UK due to leave the EU in March 2019, it’s unclear at this stage what impact it will have on these figures.
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