Report shows increase in UK citizens moving to EU countries

In a study carried out by Oxford in Berlin and the Berlin-based WZB Social Science Centre, an estimated 73,000 UK citizens have moved to another EU country each year since the Brexit vote in 2016. 

This is 17,000, or 30%, higher than the average between 2008 and 2015, which was approximately 57,000 a year. 

Why are citizens leaving? 

The analysis shows there are a number of reasons driving the increase in people leaving the UK. For a lot of citizens, uncertainty over Brexit and the future of the UK was an important factor. 

Another was that they wanted to “improve their economic and social future and mitigate some of the negative impact that Brexit is having on their lives.” 

For many, thinking about their long-term identity meant wanting to remain European citizens. Study co-author Daniel Tetlow said this “was reflected in a huge rise in citizenship and dual citizenship figures.” 

He added, “For example, across the EU, there was a rise of around 500% in Brits getting EU Member State citizenship, and in Germany, the increase in the number of British citizens acquiring a German passport was as high as over 2,000% between 2015 and 2019”.

An impulsive decision? 

Another trend found in the report was that those leaving were willing to take more risks – for example, some were arriving in their new country of residence without a job offer, and others were willing to accept a pay cut. 

Some of those interviewed also admitted to making the decision more “impulsively” than they would have done before. 

“The time that passed between the decision to emigrate and actual emigration shortened from around 12 months to a few weeks, with people generally being more prepared to take risks,” the report said.

The report concluded that this phenomenon could have a lasting impact in the coming years, not just on UK immigration, but also on the other EU countries and how they plan to implement integration policies. 

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