EU expats flee UK in fear of Brexit

Published:  26 May at 6 PM
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A dramatic fall in net migration since the Brexit referendum is sparking fears for the British economy.

New official figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed a massive fall in net migration in 2016, sparked by a surge in EU expats relocating to their home countries. Business groups are warning a labour shortage focused on hard to replace key staff would have severe effects on the UK’s economy both in the run-up to Brexit and during its aftermath.

According to the ONS, long-tern net migration fell last year to 248,000, a significant fall of 84,000 from 2015’s figures. The number of EU citizens who left was 40,000 out of a total of 117.000 emigrants, an increase of 31,000 on the 2015 figures. The statistics are calculated annually, with the present numbers including the six months after the June referendum and suggesting that the next set of statistics will reveal another increase in those leaving the UK.
As regards the international movements of UK citizens, 134,000 left against 74,000 returning.

The Labour party’s election manifesto states its commitment to ‘fair and reasonable management of migration’, but considers targets as bogus, but Tory Home Secretary Amber Rudd states the fall in net migration is a positive sign consistent with the party’s determination to reduce overall net migration numbers still further in spite of possible negative effects on the British economy.

Although the prospect of being forced to leave post-Brexit seems to be a primary reason for the expat exodus, recently released police statistics are showing increases of up to a third in reported anti-immigrant hate crimes. A study by the Independent newspaper showed consistent doubling and tripling of reported hate crimes in eurosceptic areas, with numbers significantly higher than the reported 57 per cent average increase across the country since June last year.

Counties which mostly voted to leave the EU include Lincolnshire, where police data has shown a 191 per cent rise in crimes against immigrants and expats. Kent is another hotspot with a 143 per cent increase. It’s hardly surprising that EU expats are returning to their home countries or finding jobs in EU member states, considering that the reality of a hard Brexit is likely to see a further escalation of such crimes.

Source: The Independent
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