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16 August 2017

Financial Times: Number of EU nationals working in UK hits record high

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The number of EU nationals working in the UK has hit a record high, driven by a large increase in the number of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens who have found employment here.

Official data published on Wednesday showed an estimated 2.37m EU workers in Britain between April and June this year, which was up by 126,000 on the same period in 2016 and the highest figure since records began two decades ago. This suggests that the UK’s decision to leave the EU has not yet had a significant impact on the number of Europeans in work.

The rise is partly due to a sharp increase in the number of workers from Bulgaria and Romania, which has grown by more than a quarter to 337,000 during the past 12 months. The working population from these two countries has boomed since their citizens were granted full access to the UK labour market three years ago.

By contrast, the number of employees from eight eastern European countries including Poland, Lithuania and Latvia — who have been able to work in the UK since they joined the EU in 2004 — declined from just over 1m in the second quarter of 2016 to 997,000 in the same period this year.

This tallied with separate ONS statistics released in May, which showed a fall in immigration and rise in emigration for this group, resulting in the lowest net migration of eastern European nationals since they first joined the bloc.

According to the latest release, the number of workers from 14 long-term EU member states such as Germany, Italy, Spain and France rose marginally from 947,000 to a little over 1m.

Statisticians emphasised that despite the high absolute figure of EU nationals employed in Britain, the rate of growth had tailed off significantly during the past three quarters. [...]

Full article on Financial Times (subscription required)

Full ONS statistics

© Financial Times

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