Freedom of movement with the EU will end on 1 January 2021, when the UK will move to a new points-based immigration system that will treat EU citizens in the same way as non-EU citizens.
Over time, this could fundamentally change the profile of the EU workers participating in the UK labour market, arguably concentrating competition for jobs in higher skilled roles, and leaving labour shortages in some of those sectors that have tended to rely on EU workers most.
Key findings include:
- Up to 160,000 EU workers who recently came to the UK would not have been eligible to live and work here if the new immigration rules had been in place at the time.
- More than 40,000 recent EU migrants who arrived in the UK and worked in hospitality (2.7% of the current sector’s workforce) would have been ineligible to do so.
- Hospitality employed the highest proportion of EU workers across the economy (13%) before the pandemic hit, followed by transport and storage (11.7%) and administration and support services (10.3%).
- More than 230,000 people working in health and social care immediately prior to the pandemic were EU nationals. Social care is likely to face acute workforce challenges in the future, as most care worker roles are not included in new the health and care visa.
These findings are based on our analysis of the Annual Population Survey April 2019 – March 2020 and the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, October – December 2019.
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