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UK – Eurozone unemployed head to UK

30 August 2013

There have been increases of up to 50% in migration to Britain from Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal, according to official figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), reports the Guardian.

The new data shows little evidence, however, of any surge in Romanians or Bulgarians arriving in advance of the end-of-year deadline to lift restrictions on them working in Britain.

The figures on new national insurance registrations by overseas workers show a fall in the number of Romanians (down -22% year on year to 17,820) and Bulgarians (down -17% to 10,400) coming to work in Britain in 2012-2013.

The total tally of new national insurance numbers issued to overseas workers last year fell by 39,000 to 562,000. The number issued to workers from outside Europe fell by 74,000 to 177,000, the lowest level for 10 years, while the number issued to those from other parts of Europe rose by 35,000 to 385,000.

The DWP said two key factors were responsible for these trends: the government's restrictions on workers and students from outside Europe, and the high unemployment rates in EU countries whose economies have been most severely hit by the Eurozone crisis.

The figures show increases in new national insurance registrations by Spanish nationals (up +50% to 45,000), Italians (up +35% to 32,800), Portuguese (up +43% to 24,550) and Greeks (up +44% to 8,680). The number issued to Poles rose by +15% to 91,360.

THE DWP Statistical Bulletin reports: "Unemployment rates in Greece (24%), Spain (24%), and Portugal (15%) are all much higher than the overall EU average (11%). Though the unemployment rate in Italy (10%) is lower than the EU average, figures show a rise in unemployment in the past five years."

Figures released today by Eurostat, the statistical body of the European Union, report stability in the levels of unemployment across the European Union and the Eurozone countries. Unemployment levels, however, remain above those for the same period last year.

The figures do not seem to bear out claims that there is likely to be a large-scale flow of Romanian workers currently in Italy and Spain to Britain in the face of rising unemployment in those countries.

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