People Management speaks to Jonathan Beech – Majority of UK migrant workers now non-EU citizens

Jun 22, 2020


Non-Europeans majority of migrants UK work

Published 19 June 2020 written by Francis Churchill


Non-Europeans made up the majority of migrants moving to the UK for work for the first time since 2006, new analysis of official data has found.

report by the Migration Observatory found that of the 170,000 non-British citizens who moved to the UK in 2019 to work, around 95,000 (56 per cent) were non-EU citizens. This compared to just 75,000 EU citizens.

The report, which analysed data from the Home Office and the Office for National Statistics, said between 2007 and 2019, EU citizens made up two-thirds of long-term migrants moving to the UK for work, however this has been in decline since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016.

People Management asked Migrate’s MD Jonathan Beech for his views.  Jonathan noted that the split between the availability of EU and non-EU workers would be not be as relevant for businesses looking to fill medium to high-skilled vacancies – as both groups are expected to be treated equally under the new points-based system. “It is more of a concern with low skill – not to be confused with low value – jobs as with lower numbers of EU workers to fill these jobs now, and quotas put in place from January, industries that rely on these workers could suffer.”

However, the changing number of EU and non-EU migrants seen in 2019 could be down to a number of factors, including the low unemployment rate the UK saw before the start of the outbreak. This could have reduced the number of lower and medium skilled level vacancies that are more likely to be filled by EU workers.

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Non-Europeans majority of migrants UK work

Jonathan Beech

Non-Europeans majority of migrants UK work

Karen Kaur