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Fewer EU citizens registering to work in Shropshire

By Dominic Robertson | News | Published:

Fewer EU citizens are registering for national insurance numbers in Shropshire than at the time of the Brexit vote, figures reveal.

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Oxford University's Migration Observatory said the falling value of the pound and political uncertainty are likely factors behind the drop in numbers.

Department for Work and Pensions statistics show that in Telford & Wrekin 1,102 adults from EU countries registered for NI numbers in the year to June.

In Shropshire 824 registered and in Powys it was 312.

NI numbers are required by foreign nationals if they want to work or claim benefits in the UK.

In the 12 months to June 2016, the month of the referendum, 1,279 people in Telford & Wrekin registered. For Shropshire it was 1,093, and in Powys it was 322.

The drop reflects the trend across the UK, where NI allocations to people from the 27 other member states went down by 29 per cent, to around 448,000.

Madeleine Sumption, director of Oxford University's Migration Observatory, said: “The sharp fall in EU migration since the referendum is likely to result from some combination of the falling value of the pound, political uncertainty and an improving economic outlook in EU countries of origin.”

Despite the fall in EU registrations for NI numbers in Telford and Wrekin, the overall number given to overseas nationals seeking to work or claim benefits in the area has grown.

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Non-EU registrations

In the year to June, there were 1,555 registrations in Telford and Wrekin, compared to 1,482 in the 12 months to June 2016.

In Shropshire it has fallen with 1,078 registrations compared to 1,244 in the year leading up to June 2016. Powys had 374 compared to 395 in the same period.

The national picture has seen around 706,000 NI numbers were handed out in the year to June, 14 per cent fewer than three years earlier.

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Over the same timeframe, non-EU registrations increased 32 per cent to about 256,000.

The non-EU region with the highest number of registrations in Telford and Wrekin was South Asia – 199 people were handed an NI number. For Shropshire it was Sub-Saharan Africa, with 41 people getting NI numbers, and Powys was also South Asia with 20 people

Ms Sumption said non-EU migrants tend to do more skilled jobs than EU workers, because it is difficult for them to get visas for low-paid work.

Consequence

She added: “One consequence of the recent shift in where migrants are coming from is likely to be a slower growth in the number of migrants in low and middle-skilled jobs.”

The DWP says the figures should not be used to indicate immigration levels, as foreign nationals could have been in the country for some time before applying.

The statistics include students working part-time, and include all workers regardless of their length of stay in the UK.

The number of EU and non-EU registrations in the areas may not equal the overall totals, as allocations to people from a certain area are not published if there are fewer than five.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We want everyone already in the country who can continue contributing to our jobs boom to do so, wherever they’ve come from.

“The Prime Minister has set out this Government’s ambitious vision for a future immigration system that prioritises skills from around the world and welcomes talented and hard-working people to study, work, visit and do business in the UK, while taking back control of our borders through bringing freedom of movement as it currently stands to an end.”

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