Nov 29, 2018 17:53 UTC
  • Net EU migration into UK falling significantly: Official data

Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced that the number of migrants arriving from European Union countries into the United Kingdom has dropped to record low levels amid fears that the country might face acute shortage of workforce once it leaves the EU.

The ONS said Thursday that net migration of EU citizens to the UK, meaning the number of people moving to Britain minus those leaving, dropped to 74,000 during the year to June, the lowest recorded since late 2012.

It said the figure showed a 28-percent decrease compared with the same period last year and the lowest since Britons voted in a referendum in June 2016 to leave the EU.

Britain is hugely concerned about the lack of skilled workers in the country after Brexit. Many foreigners working in key organizations like the National Health Service have quit or are planning to leave permanently as fears grow that they might face problems after Britain leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

Foreign workers are also worried that Britain might finally fail to reach a comprehensive deal for its departure from the EU and leave the bloc in the so-called no-deal Brexit. That could scenario could seriously reduce the number of EU workers in Britain.

Business leaders said the ONS data showed how Brexit had undermined Britain’s ability to draw skilled workers from EU countries.

“These latest statistics highlight the continuing trend of falling net EU migration amid growing shortages across all skills levels in the UK,” said Matthew Fell, who serves as chief UK policy director at the Confederation of British Industry.

The government published a report on Wednesday warning that losses to Britain’s economy over Brexit would worsen significantly if net migration from EU citizens was to fall to zero.