EU citizens seeking employment in UK down 36% since Brexit
The number of EU citizens searching for employment in the UK has fallen by over a third since Brexit.
According to research by Indeed, UK employers are struggling to recruit staff and jobseekers from the bloc were down by 36% in May compared to the same month in 2019.
Low-paid jobs in hospitality, the care sector and warehouses recorded the biggest declines at 41%.
Despite the decline fall in EU jobseekers wanting to move to the UK caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, figures in other European countries did not suffer the same dramatic decline as Britain. The report suggests that tougher post-Brexit immigration rules have impacted heavily on workers’ decisions.
Clicks on job adverts from non-EU countries fell by just 1%, and searches from Ireland, whose citizens retain the right to live and work in the UK after Brexit, were down by a similar amount over the same time frame.
Foreign workers are currently needed by businesses eager to return to normal after the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. A dearth of EU citizens seeking employment could slow the country’s economic recovery.
Renowned Brexit supporter Tim Martin, and the boss of JD Wetherspoon, called on the government to launch a visa scheme for EU workers to help pubs and restaurants recruit more staff.
According to the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence, around 1.3m non-UK workers are estimated to have left the UK since late 2019.
The UK government’s new immigration regime aims to prioritise ‘those with the highest skills’. Nevertheless, it is also making it harder to recruit foreign workers for most lower-paid jobs.
Jack Kennedy, a UK economist at Indeed, said this "means domestic workers may be required to fill the gaps."
“However, with many sectors, including hospitality, already struggling to recruit all the staff they need, higher salaries may be required to attract UK workers to fill those roles.”
Interest from workers outside the EU is largely stable and even rising in the case of higher-paid roles.