World Economy

EU Crisis Pushing Migrants to Britain

EU Crisis Pushing Migrants to BritainEU Crisis Pushing Migrants to Britain

The eurozone jobs crisis is encouraging more southern European migrants to head to the UK to join those from the east, the Migration Observatory has said. The industrial production has also fallen the most in 18 months in February.

Over the past five years the number of EU nationals living in the UK has gone up by almost 700,000 to 3.3 million. The report said 49% of the 700,000 were from Poland and Romania, but Spain, Italy and Portugal accounted for 24%, BBC reported.

The Migration Observatory says there is no single “pull factor” but a mixture, including wages and economic prospects.

Just over 70% of EU citizens coming to live in the UK for at least a year say they are coming to work, with more than half of them already having a job to start.

The Migration Observatory research team at Oxford University said it had tried to identify the domestic and international triggers behind migration from the EU over the past five years.

While the UK had experienced huge movements from eastern Europe, particularly from Poland, southern Europeans were now looking for work in the UK to avoid the poorer economic situation at home.

An analysis of official figures shows six countries provided almost half of all EU nationals in the UK—Poland, Romania, Spain, Italy, Hungary and Portugal.

The number of people from those six nations living in the UK had gone up by more than 500,000 between 2011 and 2015. During the same period, Spain, Italy and Portugal together had lost almost a million jobs.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory, said the rise in southern European arrivals indicated that the reasons why people moved differed depending on their origins—and could also change over time. “There is no single factor driving high levels of EU migration in recent years,” she said.

“Some drivers are likely to remain in place for some years, such as the relatively low wages in new EU member states, particularly Romania.”Others could potentially dissipate more quickly, like high unemployment in Spain.

“Migration may respond more to factors that governments don’t directly control, like demographics and economic growth in other EU countries.”

  Factory Output Falls

Eurozone industrial production fell the most in 18 months in February, giving up some of the surge seen at the start of the year.

Data from Eurostat showed output declined 0.8%, more than the 0.7% economists had forecast in a Bloomberg survey. The decline followed a revised 1.9% jump in January, which was the biggest since 2010.

While the latest drop is partly technical, surveys and confidence indicators suggest there may be more weakness ahead. Markit’s manufacturing Purchasing Mangers’ Indexes have slipped in recent months and economic confidence in the 19-nation eurozone has fallen to the lowest in more than a year.

Economists at Barclays correctly forecast the February production reading. In a note before the data were published, they said this would bring the first-quarter carryover to 1.1%, well above the 0.4% industrial growth in the last three months of 2015.

“Nonetheless, recent business surveys point to further weakness in March, as forward-looking indicators continued to nose dive, amid challenging external demand,” economists including Philippe Gudin in Paris said earlier on Wednesday.