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New figures suggest fall in eastern European workers coming to UK since Brexit vote

New figures suggest fall in eastern European workers coming to UK since Brexit vote

John Ashmore

2 min read

There has been a sharp drop in the number of eastern Europeans coming to the UK since the EU referendum almost a year ago, new figures suggest.

In the first three months of 2017 just 26,000 national insurance numbers were registered to citizens of the so-called EU8 countries, according to Oxford University's Migration Observatory.

That represents a fall of 35% on last year's figure of 40,000 and a dramatic drop from the record 111,000 people who registered in the first quarter of 2007. 

It is also the lowest overall first quarter figure since the group of former Soviet bloc countries joined the EU in 2005.

Although national insurance registrations are not necessarily a good indication of long-term migration numbers, the Office for National Statistics says they can indicate "emerging changes in patterns of migration".

“We are seeing indications that the UK has become a less attractive destination for migrants from Poland and seven other east European countries since the referendum on leaving the EU," said Carlos Vargas-Silva, the acting director of the Migration Observatory.

Factors that may have made the UK less attractive include the sharp post-referendum drop in the value of the pound and a lack of certainty about the status of EU nationals in the UK. 

The Observatory also suggested well-paid work in other EU countries made the UK less of a draw, as had several well-publicised "xenophobic incidents" since the vote to leave the bloc.


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