Responding to the latest migration statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD, comments:

“It is no surprise that EU citizens are less keen on coming to the UK to work.  However, it is curious that fewer EU nationals are leaving the UK for work given the fall in the value of the pound and the continued political uncertainty. It seems possible that many EU citizens who have yet to secure settled status may be fearful of the consequences of leaving the UK if they wish to return, especially those EU citizens who have yet to secure settled status. The prospect of migration restrictions may therefore perversely be helping employers to ease their recruitment difficulties in the short-term. Other factors behind the higher retention rates could include the recent acceleration in wage growth, especially for National Living Wage recipients, and the continued strength of the labour market.”

Davies adds: “It remains to be seen what will happen to the rate of inflow in the months ahead, though much will depend on political outcomes and the relative buoyancy of the UK and wider EU economies in the face of the global economic slowdown. In particular, the cause of employers or EU citizens won’t have been helped by recent speculation that free movement will end on 31 October in the event of a no deal. The urgent advice for employers therefore is to ensure that any EU citizens you are currently hiring or plan to recruit arrive in the UK by 31 October.”

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