ONS. In 2011, the UK lost over 200,000 EU citizens.

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Last year, more than 200,000 European Union (EU) citizens left Britain for fear of Brexit and the most severe economic depression in three centuries.

There were 3.5 million EU citizens living in the country, up from 3.7 million in 2019, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed released last week. The number of non-European citizens was little changed, 2.6 million.

The loss helps explain why Britain faces labor shortages that are emptying store shelves, raising prices and threatening to recover from a pandemic recession. Sectors such as retail and hospitality are heavily dependent on EU workers, and it is not known how many of those leaving the country will return.

The pandemic has hit Britain more than most countries, and migrants can find lucrative opportunities in their home countries. Meanwhile, leaving the UK from the EU has made it difficult for foreign nationals to return to the UK, and those without established status now need a visa to work, live or study.

However, the ONS said the shortage of truck drivers was not necessarily due to EU citizens returning home. Brexit. While the number of EU citizens working as truck drivers fell by more than a third between mid-2020 and March this year, many could have changed careers, he said. . .

The pandemic has made it difficult to track migration flows after face-to-face interviews in ports were suspended due to social distancing requirements. Instead, officials had to rely on surveys conducted remotely.

The ONS said statistical models show 100,000 people emigrated from the UK between March and June last year, when the first lockdowns were imposed, a significant increase from the same period in 2018 and 2019. More than three quarters of them were EU citizens. At the same time, restrictions on international travel meant that much less than usual was being done in the UK.

London remained the area with the highest proportion of residents born outside the UK. Foreigners make up 9% of the total population, and Polish, Romanian, Irish, Indian and Italian citizens rank in the top five.


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