Britain is becoming a less attractive place for immigrants coming elsewhere in the EU. Since the vote for Brexit in mid-2016, the ranks of EU migrants coming to the UK has slowed significantly.
According to the latest data from the UK statistics agency, net migration of EU citizens to Britain has fallen by 75,000 over the past year. (The latest data covers the year to Sept. 2017.) It’s now back to where it was in 2012.
The steepest drop came from EU migrants looking for work in the UK. At its peak, 82,000 EU jobseekers moved to the UK in the year to January 2016; this figure fell to 32,000 in the latest numbers. The rights of EU nationals to live and work in the UK are still up in the air, the subject of stop-start negotiations on trade, security, and other matters between London and Brussels.
There was also a fall in EU migrants coming to Britain with a job in hand, perhaps a sign of UK-based businesses relocating jobs and hiring fewer foreign nationals in preparation for the UK leaving the EU.
Altogether, the annual number of EU nationals coming to the UK for work reasons—already with a job or in search of one—has fallen by about a third since the Brexit referendum.
Some 2.4 million EU nationals were working in the UK at the end of last year. That’s around 81% of all EU nationals living in Britain, a higher employment rate for working-age residents than UK nationals (76%) and non-EU nationals (63%). Earlier this week, the UK reported an unemployment rate of 4.4%, just above decades-long lows.