- The number of Brits emigrating to European countries has risen by 30% since the Brexit vote in 2016.
- A new study found that migration from the UK to EU countries rose from 56,382 people per year between 2008 to 2015, to 73,642 a year between 2016 and 2018.
- The authors of the study said the EU referendum vote had been the ‘dominant driver’ of British people’s immigration decisions since 2016.
- One author said: “These increases in numbers are of a magnitude that you would expect when a country is hit by a major economic or political crisis.”
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The number of British people emigrating to European countries has risen by 30% since the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to a new study, which warned of a potential “brain drain” of citizens as they settle in continental Europe.
The number of UK citizens settling in European Union countries each year was 73,642 between 2016 and 2018, up from 56,832 between 2008 and 2015.
The figures, based on OECD and Eurostat data, come from a joint study by the Oxford-in-Berlin Research Partnership and the Berlin-based WZB Social Science Centre, and were first reported by The Guardian newspaper.
The UK formally left the EU in January and is currently in a transition period that will expire at the end of the year.
As part of its Brexit plans, Boris Johnson’s government has pledged to end the free movement rights which gives EU citizens the right to live, work, and settle in other member states without applying for residency there. This means UK citizens will no longer have the same freedoms to live and work in the EU as they do now.
Daniel Tetlow of Oxford-in-Berlin, the report’s co-author, said Brexit had been the “by far the most dominant driver of migration decisions since 2016.”
Daniel Auer of WZB, the co-author, said: ‘These increases in numbers are of a magnitude that you would expect when a country is hit by a major economic or political crisis.”
The study also recorded a 500% increase in UK citizens who moved to the EU and then obtained passports for the countries they had moved to. Germany saw the biggest rise of 2,000%, with 31,600 UK citizens having naturalised there since 2016.
Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael, said the figures were “unsurprising” with “the government still failing to guarantee the rights we all currently enjoy through the EU.”
He said: “To avoid a brain drain and yet another hit to our economy, the Conservative Government must secure our rights and freedoms. Stripping these to appease an impossible image of what Brexit means would be unforgivable.”
Naomi Smith, CEO of Best For Britain, the UK campaign for a comprehensive trade deal with the EU, said: “With a second wave of the virus on the horizon, threatening severe shortages in a number of key sectors, it’s a sad indictment of government policy that so many Brits are leaving our shores.
“Combined with the number of EU nationals leaving Britain as free movement ends, this could mean real problems of the UK economy — particularly in sectors like catering and hospitality, which are struggling to get back on their feet.”