The number of nationals working in the UK from the eight Eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 dropped by 154 000 in a year, the largest annual fall since records began in 1997, the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) said on November 13.
For July to September 2018, there were 881 000 people working in the UK from the eight Eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004. This was 173 000 fewer than the record high of 1.05 million for July to September 2016, the ONS said.
EU nationals working in the UK fell by 132 000 to 2.25 million, the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997.
Between July-September 2017 and July-September 2018, the number of UK nationals working in the UK increased by 448 000 to 29 million, while non-EU nationals working in the UK increased by 34 000 to 1.24 million.
Since January to March 2009, the number of non-UK nationals from outside the EU working in the UK has been broadly flat, the ONS said.
In contrast, the number of non-UK nationals from the EU working in the UK continued to increase until 2017 (reflecting the admission of Poland and other East European countries to the EU in 2004) but the latest figures show three consecutive annual falls in the number of EU nationals working in the UK.
These statistics do not measure stocks or flows of recent migrants to the UK, because they include people resident in the UK for many years (many of whom will now be UK nationals) as well as more recent arrivals. This, along with a range of other factors, means that net changes in the number of non-UK workers in the UK cannot be directly compared with long-term net migration for non-UK nationals.
In August, in a separate quarterly report on migration statistics, the ONS said EU net migration was at its lowest level since 2012 but continues to add to the UK population, with around 90,000 more EU citizens coming to the UK than leaving in the year ending March 2018.
The estimated number of EU citizens coming to the UK to work has continued to decrease, the ONS said.
The main decrease between 2016 and 2017 was in EU citizens looking for work, but much of the most recent decrease can be accounted for by a fall in the number coming to the UK for a definite job over the last year, particularly citizens of EU15 countries.
The ONS’s next quarterly report on migration statistics is due for release on November 29 2018, four months to the day before the scheduled date of Brexit.
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