Record drop in EU citizens working in Britain, official figures reveal
The number of EU citizens working in the UK faced a record nosedive in the year to June, official figures have revealed.
Some 2.28 million EU nationals were working in the country between April and June 2018 - 86,000 fewer than in the same period the year before, the Office for National Statistics said.
The fall reflects an increase in the number of EU nationals leaving the UK since the Brexit vote in June 2016.
Campaigners warned of a "Brexodus" and said the "alarming" fall could be just "the start".
The drop coincided with a rise in the number of job vacancies to its highest figure on record at 829,000 - some 51,000 more than for a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the number of unemployed people fell by 124,000 compared with the year before and by 65,000 compared with the previous three months to hit 1.36 million - a record low.
And earnings were up by just 0.1% once when inflation was taken into account, and 0.4% when bonuses were excluded.
Matt Hughes, the deputy head of labour market at the ONS, said: “The number of people in work has continued to edge ahead, though the employment rate was unchanged on the quarter.”
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: "This alarming fall in EU nationals working in the UK may only be the start."
“This Brexodus will worsen the country’s skills deficit and hit businesses hard, as the record number of vacant jobs illustrates.
"From agriculture and hospitality to construction and the tech sector, our economy relies on the vital contributions of EU nationals."
Eloise Todd, CEO of pro-EU group Best for Britain, said: "These figures show that Brexodus continues as people pack their bags and leave the UK. This should worry everyone
"These EU nationals nurse our sick, care for our grandparents and help make Britain a more productive and prosperous country, but the government is pulling up the drawbridge as thousands of EU citizens worry about their future."