The number of Eastern Europeans working in the UK will soon begin to fall, a migrant recruitment expert has predicted.
Many Poles and Czechs see a stint working in the UK as a three-year project, according to Niall Keyes, managing director of Grafton Recruitment.
Figures released last week showed that 630,000 Eastern Europeans have entered the UK since the EU expansion in 2004. But Keyes, who heads the Irish firm's central and eastern European division, insisted the number of former Communist Block workers in the capital will fall as the big first wave starts to filter home.
"We used to talk about the brain drain and how it would be a disaster in the Czech Republic, but it is only a two- to three-year project for most people to move abroad," he told Personnel Today.
"I think we'll see a reduction in the number of Eastern Europeans in London. A significant number go home after two or three years - we are already interviewing people who have come back."
Home Office figures showed that 49,000 people from the 2004 accession states applied to work in the UK during the first three months of this year. This was down from 65,000 in the previous quarter. Almost 8,000 Romanians and Bulgarians registered to work in the UK in the first quarter of 2007.