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Record number of EU citizens working in UK

There were an estimated 2.37m people from EU member states excluding Britain in employment between April and June this year.

The number of EU citizens working in the UK has hit a new record high, official figures show.

There were an estimated 2.37 million people from EU member states excluding Britain in employment between April and June this year.

The figure is up by 126,000 on the same period in 2016 – which included the Brexit vote – and the highest number since comparable records started 20 years ago.

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(PA graphic)

Statistics covering workers’ country of birth rather than nationality also showed an increase.

Office for National Statistics senior labour market statistician Matt Hughes said: “The number of workers born elsewhere in the EU continues to increase, but the annual rate of change has slowed markedly.”

Within the overall tally of EU workers, different trends are apparent when the statistics are broken down by groups of nations.

In the second quarter of this year there were just over one million nationals of 14 long-term member states including Germany, Italy, Spain and France employed in the UK.

This figure has increased from 947,000 during the equivalent three months of 2016, when the EU referendum was held.

There has also been a rise in the number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK, passing the third of a million mark to reach 337,000 in April-June.

Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007 and restrictions on citizens of the two countries working in Britain were lifted in January 2014.

In contrast to rises across the other country groups, the figures show a fall in the number of nationals of eight central and eastern European states working in the UK.

There were an estimated 997,000 employees from the so-called EUA8 countries which joined the union in 2004 – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

This number was down by around 11,000 compared to a year earlier and the first time since the referendum that it has dipped below a million.

The figures also revealed that the number of overseas nationals from outside the EU working in the UK fell by 18,000 on the previous year to 1.2 million.

Statisticians say the estimates relate to the number of people in employment and should not be used as a proxy for flows of foreign migrants into the country.

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