Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

ONS net migration figures: More EUs remain in the UK as employers stockpile talent– bucking the Brexit ‘effect’

Please see comment below by Jonathan Beech, Managing Director of Migrate UK , in reaction to the latest quarterly ONS net migration figures for the UK for the year endingDecember 2018.

Migrate UK is a law firm specialising solely in immigration law for organisations and individuals. Jonathan Beech has over 20 years' experience in the immigration sector. Prior to setting up Migrate UK in 2004, he gained extensive experience working and consulting in UK immigration for the UK Border Agency and two of the ‘Big Four’ global advisory firms, Ernst & Young and KPMG.  Jonathan is available for interviews and a photo is available on request.

“The latest ONS net migration figures show that there’s been an increase in EU citizens (from 57,000 to 74,000) and a decline in the number of non-EU citizens in the UK (from 261,000 to 232,000 for the year ending December 2018) since the last quarterly figures. But overall the figures show that the number of overseas nationals staying in the UK is rising as EU emigration has dropped by nearly 13% giving the slightly higher overall net migration figure of 258,000.

“One major reason for this fall in emigration is the increase in non-EUs and EUs in work in the UK. According to the latest Labour Force Survey for the period October to March 2019, an estimated 2.38 million EU nationals and 1.32 million non-EU nationals are now working in Britain, which is up by 110,000 and 30,000 respectively from the previous quarterly report, as businesses try to stockpile overseas talent to deal with their continuing skills shortages.

“We’re also seeing employers go to great lengths to retain overseas talent through remuneration packages – another contributing factor to the rising number of remainers, particularly in sectors such as IT, science, engineering and financial services, as job vacancies continue to surge. Migrate UK research found that since the referendum almost 60% of employers are paying up to a total of £100,000 in extra benefits to keep much needed European skills. And there’s no sign of the skills drought easing.

“However, the number of EUs and non-EU remaining in the UK is likely to be a short-lived trend as many are feeling less welcome and insecure about both their future status as well as their family’s. It’s also getting increasingly tough for businesses to plan as they still await clarification of the minimum earnings rate for overseas workers touted for the new skills-based immigration system.”