UK expat exodus up 30% post Brexit - study

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UK expat exodus up 30% post Brexit - study

The number of UK citizens emigrating to the EU has risen by 30 per cent since the Brexit vote, according to a new study.

Analysis of data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat shows that migration from Britain to EU states averaged 56,832 people a year in 2008-15, growing to 73,642 a year in 2016-18.

The joint research project undertaken between the Oxford-in-Berlin partnership and the WZB Social Science Centre, also in Berlin,compared the UK's data with "stable migration flows" among other EU nationals and found that Brexit had been the "dominant driver" of migration decisions made since 2016.

These increases in numbers are of a magnitude that you would expect when a country is hit by a major economic or political crisis," WZB's Daniel Auer

'Brain drain'

Authored by Daniel Tetlow of Oxford-in-Berlin and WZB's Daniel Auer, the joint statement warned that the UK is "facing a potential brain drain of highly-educated British citizens, who have decided to invest their futures in continental Europe". 

The biggest jump in migration was to Spain, where an estimated 380,000 British nationals currently live. Registration has not been essential in the country so many have lived there without being included in official Spanish immigration data, with an average of just 2,300 a year registering as migrating to the country between 2008 and 2015.

The Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca regions have seen the vast majority of British nationals return back into the country - the reverse of what was predicted.

Crisis

"These increases in numbers are of a magnitude that you would expect when a country is hit by a major economic or political crisis," Auer said.

Additional data from UK citizens now living in Germany revealed they had shown "increased levels of risk-taking and impulsivity" in reaction to Brexit, with 57% of interviewees reporting taking a "big risk" with their move, compared with just 24% pre-referendum.

A majority of respondents revelaed that they had also agreed to a pay cut or wage freeze as part of their decision to leave Britain, whereas prior to the referendum the majority received a pay rise.

The survey also highlighted that the number of UK citizens attaining an EU member state passport also jumped by more than 500% across the continent and a rise of more than 2,000% in Germany.