More Brits heading to Europe

The number of Brits leaving the UK to settle in Continental Europe is at a ten-year-high, new figures show.

A study carried out by academics at Oxford University and the Berlin Social Science Centre found that approximately 84,000 UK citizens emigrated to the EU in 2019.

They say that Brexit has had a huge impact on the number of Brits looking to leave the UK ahead of it leaving the European Union. The year before the Brexit vote just 58,000 people moved to continental Europe from Britain, and as few as 46,000 made the move back in 2012.

That being said, the number of emigrants from the UK to the EU has risen continuously since 2010, although the spike in numbers has been greatly exaggerated since the Brexit referendum of 2016.

Although freedom of movement will be ended post Brexit, providing the UK leaves with a deal in place a transition period is set to run until the end of 2020, but could continue until December 2022 under built-in provisions for an extension.

“The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has certainly caused large numbers of people to pack their bags in both directions,” co-author of the study and migration specialist Dr Daniel Auer said.

The study’s authors say they used figures based on national immigration statistics to build a more accurate picture of migration between the UK and EU than traditional passenger surveys, which can have a large margin of error.

“Unfortunately, migration numbers, especially for people leaving the UK, have a high error rate because they rely on approximations from passenger surveys,” Dr Auer continued.  “For that reason, in our study we use OECD data based on national immigration statistics, available until the end of 2017, so one of the challenges for our study is to better understand the effect of Brexit since then.”

There are now thought to be about 1.2 million Brits living in Europe, the vast majority of whom are of working age.

Article published 24th October 2019