Tighter Immigration from EU8 Countries Likely to Affect UK Industries
Tighter immigration rules in the wake of Brexit are likely to have a significant effect on several British industries, with far more EU8 citizens working in the UK than British citizens living abroad.
Around 1.3 million citizens of EU8 countries – Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia and Latvia – lived in the UK over the period of 2013 to 2015, over 80 percent of which were employed. This contrasts with only around 14,000 UK citizens living in those countries, according to the latest report from the Office for National Statistics.
The number of EU8 citizens employed in the UK made 3 percent of the overall UK workforce. 32 percent of EU8 workers were employed in elementary occupations, with the most common industries of employment being Distribution, Hotels and Restaurants, as well as Manufacturing. 40 percent of these EU8 citizens were over-qualified for the job they were doing.
The research appears to suggest that tighter immigration, as proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May and as looks likely as Brexit negotiations get underway, will have a significant effect on these industries. Brexit secretary David Davis conceded this point, saying that maintaining immigration from these countries was in the ‘national interest’:
“I cannot imagine that the policy will be anything other than that which is in the national interest, which means that from time to time we’ll need more, from time to time we’ll need less migrants.”
Emma Rourke, ONS Director for Public Policy and Analysis, said in the report:
“This report adds to the complex picture of migration across the EU. It shows how the population profile among migrant populations compares – and often differs markedly in age make-up – with the overall population of the host countries. This has clear implications for future policy-making across a range of areas.”