EU citizens: we’ll miss them

Jon Danzig |

Tens of thousands of EU citizens have decided to leave Britain since the referendum. The latest figures reveal the highest outflow of EU migrants for a decade, and a huge reduction in the number of EU migrants moving to the UK.

130,000 citizens from the EU decided to leave Britain in the year to September 2017. And around 47,000 fewer migrants from other EU countries moved here compared to the previous year.

The latest figures also show that more British people are emigrating than Britons returning to live here.

It means that net EU migration – the difference between arrivals and departures – was only 90,000, the lowest for five years.

Commented the BBC home affairs correspondent, Danny Shaw:

‘What explanation could there be for the decline in EU migration other than Brexit?’

He added:

‘Whether it’s a feeling that EU citizens aren’t wanted in the UK, uncertainty about their future or the growing relative strength of other EU economies, there has been a notable shift away from Britain’s shores.’

The NHS as a result is at crisis point. NHS England has nearly 100,000 unfilled jobs, a situation described as “dangerously” understaffed. That’s one in 11 posts unfilled, according to the latest figures.

Most EU doctors working for the NHS have indicated that they plan to leave, according to a survey by the British Medical Journal.

Record numbers of nurses from the EU have left the NHS since the Brexit vote, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

Around 10,000 EU health workers have left since the referendum, according to the National Health Executive.

And the number of nurses from the EU registering to work in the UK has dropped by 96% since the EU referendum, according to statistics by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

We’ve made them feel unwelcome, so who can blame them for leaving us? But believe me, we’ll miss them when they’ve gone.

Who will give us medical treatment in hospital? Who will take care of our parents and grandparents in care homes? Who will do the millions of jobs that we simply don’t have enough Britons to do?

There’s a host of reasons to want citizens here from the rest of the EU to stay, and to want to stay. But the opposite is happening since the Brexit vote.

EU citizens living here are not stupid (far from it; on average, they’re more educated than most of us, and their command of English puts some of us to shame.)

They know that one of the main reasons, if not the number one reason, that people opted for Brexit in the referendum is because they perceived that we have too many EU migrants.

Too many? Oh, heaven help us. If anything, we don’t have enough. We’ll soon see.

Britain has far more vacancies than Britons to fill them. Around 750,000 job vacancies last month alone. We don’t have enough Britons to do the jobs that EU citizens are (or were) happy to do for us.

They’re mostly young, fit, healthy and clever; they took the initiative to come here and they came here for one primary reason. Not to sponge off our welfare system. Not to cause havoc. Not to undermine our democracy or our culture. They came to work.

And that is mostly what they do. Work.

Very few indeed are taking benefits; indeed, they pay far more into the Treasury than they take out. And if there is no work, they mostly either don’t come here, or mostly don’t stay.

Our loss. There are 27 other EU countries willing to not just accept, but to embrace, the concept of free movement of people across our continent, so that their countries can be enriched by mostly young migrants willing to work, pay taxes, and contribute.

Our loss, in more ways than one. Because this isn’t just about Brexit, is it?

This is about what kind of country Britain is going to be.

Are we to become an insular, isolated, xenophobic country that doesn’t like migrants; that makes them feel unwelcome, so that they don’t want to be here anymore?

The governent’s own economic analyses (that they didn’t want us to see) predict that every Brexit scenario will leave the UK economically worse off than it would be if we stayed in the EU.

EU citizens leaving the UK will not solve or help this. (On the contrary).

But now, many are leaving.

Sure, Brexiters will say, they can come back, if we need them.

But the thing is, they got the message; they know we need them. The problem is, they no longer feel we want them.

Is it too late to say, ‘Please don’t go’?

Only if we can stop Brexit. That’s what we have to do.

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