Three crisis-hit Eurozone countries rank alongside eastern European accession countries as the EU member states whose UK-resident populations have grown the most between 2011 and 2015, the new commentary shows.
In the analysis, researchers analyse key domestic and international factors that could have made the UK an attractive destination for EU migrants in recent years. The commentary is part of a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s UK in a Changing Europe initiative.
Six countries – Poland, Romania, Spain, Italy, Hungary and Portugal – have been responsible for 80% of the growth in the UK’s EU-born population since 2011.
While some of the factors encouraging migration to the UK are permanent (such as the attraction of the English language and the presence of well-established migrant communities here), others have the potential to change over time, says the research. It adds that economic factors like high unemployment in southern Europe and lower wages in Eastern Europe, for example, are likely to be key drivers of recent migration. How they will evolve in coming years is difficult to predict.