The number of EU citizens arriving for work has fallen to 90,000 in the year ending June 2019 – the lowest since 2012. The number of EU citizens arriving looking for a job has dropped to just 22,000, compared to the peak of 82,000 three years earlier. Meanwhile, non-EU migration for work has been rising steadily since 2014.
Sophie Wingfield, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said:
“Today’s official figures show worrying trends in migration for work continuing. Our data has consistently shown a serious shortage of UK workers in many sectors, ranging from healthcare and engineering to hospitality and agriculture, and this has been getting worse since 2013. Meanwhile, the UK is becoming a less attractive destination for workers from overseas. Employers and recruiters need to be able to attract migrant workers to fill these vital roles. It is essential that we build a post-Brexit immigration system which is evidence-based and works for business, workers and the economy.
“This system must also include a salary threshold lowered to £20,000, and a temporary route for all skill levels. Any temporary visa should be held by the worker, not the employer, and be affordable to people in lower-paid work. An immigration system which only allows for the “best and brightest” or excludes flexible workers would seriously affect employers’ ability to hire the staff they need.”