Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

ONS migration statistics: Fall in EU migrant workers shows why employers worry about new immigration system

The latest migration statistics from the ONS show that migration to the UK for work continues to drop. The number of EU citizens arriving for work in the year ending September 2019 was 79,000 – the lowest since 2004.

This comes soon after the government announced its proposed immigration system, which would not allow people who are considered ‘low-skilled’ to come to the UK for work.

Sophie Wingfield, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said:

“These figures show exactly why employers are worried about the new immigration system. More businesses are looking to hire staff since the election, and 71% of them have little or no spare capacity in their workforce. The major challenge is that not enough people are available to fill these roles. The fact that we now have the fewest EU citizens arriving to work in the UK since 2004 will only make this problem worse.

“Workers that the government calls ‘low-skilled’ are a vital part of the UK workforce, whether from abroad or not. They help us look after the elderly, build homes and keep the economy strong. We ask that the government includes a temporary work visa in the new system, allowing workers at all pay grades and skill levels to fill important vacancies and contribute to the UK economy.”