Brexit referendum 'sparked rise in Britons migrating to the EU'

Brexit referendum sparked rise in Britons migrating to the EU and 500% increase in passport bids, study finds

  • Study finds Brexit referendum result sparked rise in Britons emigrating to the EU 
  • Number of Britons seeking EU passports increased five-fold, research suggests
  • Official figures show net EU migration to the UK still well in positive territory  

Brexit has sparked an increase in migration from Britain to the EU, according to a new study.

Flows from the UK to countries in the bloc have risen 30 per cent since the referendum, with researchers suggesting around half of that increase was driven by the decision to cut ties. 

The number of UK citizens seeking an EU member state passport also rose sharply after 2016, potentially because many Britons already living in countries felt the need to secure their residency status.

The picture emerged in a joint project between the Oxford-in-Berlin partnership and the WZB Social Science Centre.

However, despite the findings official government figures show that net migration to the UK by EU nationals is still well in positive territory.

Brexit has sparked an increase in migration from Britain to the EU, according to a new study (file picture)

And net emigration of British nationals has remained broadly stable over the past decade. 

 Analysis of OECD and Eurostat data showed migration from the UK to EU states averaged 56,832 people per year from 2008-15, but climbed to 73,642 a year from 2016-18. 

Meanwhile, numbers of Britons seeking passports from EU states went up more than 500 per cent overall, and more than 2,000 per cent in Germany. 

The authores, Daniel Tetlow of Oxford-in-Berlin and WZB’s Daniel Auer, said the changes compared to ‘stable migration flows’ among other EU nationals, concluding that Brexit has been the ‘dominant driver’ of migration decisions by Britons since 2016.

‘The study reveals the UK is facing a potential brain drain of highly-educated British citizens, who have decided to invest their futures in continental Europe,’ the study’s authors said in a statement.

Dr Auer said: ‘These increases in numbers are of a magnitude that you would expect when a country is hit by a major economic or political crisis.’

Additional data from Britons in Germany revealed they had shown ‘increased levels of risk-taking and impulsivity’ in reaction to Brexit.

Some 57 per cent of interviewees reported taking a ‘big risk’ with their move, compared with just 24 per cent pre-referendum.

A majority of respondents had also agreed to a pay cut or wage freeze as part of their decision to leave Britain, whereas prior to the referendum the majority received a pay rise.

The largest rise in migration was to Spain, with France ranking second.

 Despite the findings the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found net emigration of British nationals has remained broadly stable over the past decade

The ONS also found that net migration to the UK by EU nationals is still well in positive territory

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