Migrant applications to work in the UK fall by 6%

The number of migrant applications to work in the UK has fallen over the past year, as the health of the UK economy and weakness of the pound take their toll.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics, released today, found 686,000 national insurance numbers were allocated to overseas nationals entering the UK in the year to March 2009 – 6% lower than in the year to March 2008.

The number of nationals from the A8 countries, including Poland, registering with the Worker Registration Scheme have dropped by nearly half (42%) in the year ending June 2009, from 199,000 to 116,000 successful applications.

The data comes just days after Personnel Today reported that companies still making use of overseas workers have seen the supply of staff decrease in recent months.

Kent Thompson, managing director of industrial recruiter Pertemps, said his sector had seen a decline in EU staff as they were starting to return home.

“The ones who have stayed are now entrenched in our society, whereas the ones who came over to earn some money, send some back and then go back themselves have probably already done that,” he said.

The introduction of the 50% rate of tax for those earning more than £150,000 – which comes into force in April 2010 – may also put some people off working in the UK, as it will have higher taxes than the majority of other European countries.

Matt Brooks, group manager at HR recruiter Frazer Jones, said: “You see people in Paris who want to increase their international exposure and are thinking about where to look, and London is starting to look a bit less attractive.”


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