Applications for British citizenship have risen sharply as EU nationals move to secure their position ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU. The Home Office has stated this is likely to be linked to “perceived uncertainty” following the referendum result.
On 23 August the Home Office released its immigration statistics for the year ending June 2018. These figures revealed applications for British citizenship have increased by 47% compared to the previous year, with a total of 42,037 applications being submitted over the course of the year. EU nationals now account for almost 30% of all citizenship applications compared with just 11% in June 2016. Overall the number of EU nationals being granted British citizenship almost doubled between 2016 and 2017, increasing from 16,967 to 31,464.
The surge in applications comes at a time where net migration of EU citizens fell to its lowest level in six years. In the year ending March 2018 just 87,000 EU nationals migrated to the UK, down from 189,000 in the year ending June 2016.
The decrease in EU migrants will fuel fears that Brexit will lead to skills shortages in particular sectors of the economy. A recent survey of 2,000 UK companies revealed employers are experiencing “supply shock” as fewer EU citizens are choosing to come to the UK for work and as a result companies are struggling to fill vacancies. Phoebe Griffith of the Institute for Public Policy Research has said the “figures confirm there has been a sustained fall in net migration of EU citizens since the EU referendum” and called for a new net migration target to “stop the brain drain of skilled EU workers”.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with UK immigration matters. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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