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As Brexit chaos rules, European immigration to the UK is at its lowest level in seven years



It’s no wonder we’re putting off immigration, the political turmoil in the United Kingdom is unprecedented. Europeans, we still want you! And we can help with all your certified translation needs when you get here. Don’t be put off by our new Prime Minister, we’re sure he won’t be around for very long! Amidst the chaos, there may even be some positive signs. Boris Johnson has turned so maverick with his anti-democratic shut down of parliament and do-or-die attitude to a no deal Brexit, that staying in the EU may actually be becoming more likely. There are suggestions that a larger and larger cross party group of MPs would be willing to push for another referendum, offering a version of Theresa May’s deal or remain. If that plan went ahead, we would surely see numbers of EU migrants starting to recover. Let’s hope so.

The negative effects of Brexit have long been a reality even though the political debate remained stagnant for a long time before the roller coaster ride of recent days and weeks, and all that without an exit from the EU even having taken place yet. The number of immigrants from the rest of the EU to this country has fallen to its lowest level in seven years, according to data released recently by the National Statistics Office. It is the so-called Brexodus, which freezes or annuls personal decisions to go to work in the United Kingdom or business decisions to hire community employees because of the uncertainty that the process has unleashed. On the other hand, the number of non-EU citizens arriving in the country is the highest since 2004.

The UK is still a country that attracts immigrants, and the total figures, according to the most recent quarterly report from this year, continue to show a positive balance. But the number of people who came from countries such as France, Germany or Spain with a work contract already in place prior to their move was reduced considerably. Despite the fact that 74,000 more workers entered the country than left it until June this year, this is the lowest figure since 2012.

"Ninety-two percent of companies blame Brexit for the impact it has had on their ability to hire and train staff in 2019. Hospitals, schools or construction companies are struggling to hire the workers they need," said the director of the British employer CBI.

Nearly 2.2 million people from the EU officially work in the UK. The number of registered immigrants from non-EU countries is 1.2 million. However, according to the latest statistical report, it is precisely this group that has benefited most from the uncertainty caused by Brexit. The number of those who have entered the country to work up to last June is 248,000 more than the number who have left, the most dramatic increase since 2004. Most of them come from Asian countries.

Immigration control has been on the agenda in the run-up to Brexit, understandably, when it was cited as one of the main causes for the result of the vote. The former Prime Minister Theresa May constantly assured the public that with her Brexit agreement with Brussels - which has of course was voted down numerous times by the MPs - the UK would put an end to the freedom of movement of EU citizens. In her view the new immigration system would have prioritised the applicant's academic or work qualities and merits over their origin. "EU citizens will no longer jump the queue to pass by non-EU citizens", said the Prime Minister in an unfortunate statement for which she apologised a few days later. But, as we all know Prime Minister May is no more, and whatever we thought of her, she is beginning to look like a reasonable figure in comparison to the new offering.

With Boris Johnson’s extremism and unprecedented behaviour we really do not know what might now happen, but it has us all on the edge of our seats. One thing is for sure, politics might be despicable right now, but it is certainly not boring. Our view is that we there should be another referendum; the situation has obviously changed so much that it would surely be the only democratic course of action.

As a group we welcome immigrants – many of us are immigrants ourselves – and we believe in staying in the European Union with the attendant free movement of people. We’re certain to vote this way again if we get the chance, and look forward to welcoming our fellow Europeans (and others) to these shore for years to come. We’ll be able to hep out with all your certified translation needs too, of course!

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