Number of EU Citizens in UK Drops Significantly After Brexit
Fewer European citizens are moving to the United Kingdom after Brexit, pushing even further the chronic labour shortages in the country, especially in hospitality and support services.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 43,000 EU citizens were granted visas for work, family, study, or other purposes in 2021, indicating sharp declines compared to pre-Brexit times when 230,000 to 430,000 people came to the United Kingdom, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Only five per cent of the number of visas issued to EU citizens in 2021 were related to migration, while those travelling for business and pleasure aren’t as affected.
“While there is some evidence that the end of free movement has contributed to shortages in some areas of the UK labour market, it is by no means the only driver. In fact, recruiting difficulties are not unique to the UK, and several other countries have experienced high vacancy rates post-pandemic,” Chris Forde, a professor at Leeds University and co-author of the report for ReWage said for The Guardian.
The hospitality and service sectors were most affected, with the report revealing that hospitality lost some 98,000 EU citizens in jobs in 2020 and 2021, while support services had 64,000 fewer EU citizens recorded in the same time. As the report pointed out, the low-paid vacancies would remain an issue while other fields are becoming familiar with the changes in migration.
On the other hand, the home office statistics data shows that migration rates have soared as the world is coming out of a two-year-long pandemic. More specifically, data shows that 277,069 work-related visas were granted until March 2022, and a 50 per cent increase was recorded until March of 2020.
Moreover, a serious issue of mixed nationalities families has been noticed in both Europe and the United Kingdom as these families are finding it tough to adjust to new changes introduced due to Brexit.
More specifically, families are saying that Brexit has torn them apart since they aren’t able to stay in Europe, but neither are they in the UK, with some of these marriages even ending up in divorces.
“We both had the same rights when moving out of the UK, but given that I was to lose mine in the next couple of years, we moved quickly to the EU. Now I would be a little more reluctant to move without good reason, as I will lose my withdrawal agreement rights,” a British woman living in Denmark said.
However, while the United Kingdom has experienced a dropping number of EU workers, Ireland has been dealing with an increasing number of students.
As the Irish Independent has previously revealed, the number of applications filed by European students has tripled since Brexit, being up from 1,934 applications in 2017 to 6,383 in 2022.