Examining homogeneity in EU and non-EU migrants in pre-Brexit UK

Although there has been much focus on consequences of Brexit on EU migrants, little is known about its implications on migrants from rest of the world.

This analysis compares demographic and socio-economic characteristics of two groups of migrants – those from EU countries and from rest of the world. These two groups are examined by when they arrived in the UK; either recent migrants having arrived during five years preceding census or older migrants having arrived 5+ years preceding census thus qualifying for naturalisation. Their age, education, activity status and health needs were examined.

The micro-data file of the 5% sample of the 2011 Census of England and Wales was used for this analysis.

Preliminary results suggest that the proportion of population aged 19-64 years was higher among migrants from non-EU countries. However, relatively more EU migrants of this age group were in employment. That said, recent migrants in both groups were less likely to be employed. For both recent and longer-term migrants, those from non-EU countries showed higher levels of education than their EU counterparts.

This research highlights the important considerations that need to be taken into account in the social policies following Brexit. Any vacuum created in the labour force by Brexit may prove challenging to fill given the differences in the skills and backgrounds of EU and non-EU migrants. The EU and non-EU groups could complement one another, for example, higher educated non-EU migrants potentially contributing towards supporting the healthcare needs of the proportionately larger elderly EU migrants.

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