Kent has seen a significant fall in the number of migrant workers registering in the county, figures have revealed.
The drop will be seen as further evidence of the impact of Brexit and is also likely to cause concern among employers in both the private and public sector.
According to data based on National Insurance number allocations, Kent saw 13,926 workers from overseas in 2016-17 register, representing a drop of 956 (6.4%) compared to 2015-16.
Romania accounted for the bulk of migrant workers – 4,265 – representing an increase of 57 on the previous year.
However, there was a decline in the number of Polish migrants registering to work in Kent, a country which has traditionally figured highly in terms of the migrant workforce.
Some 1,384 workers registered in Kent, a fall of 551 on the previous year – down 28%.
However, that still accounted for the third highest number from the EU.
Despite this fall, nearly 70% of migrants – some 9,480 – were workers from EU accession states, particularly Romania and Bulgaria where restrictions on their movement were lifted in 2014.
When it came to the numbers in different parts of the county, figures show that Maidstone saw the sharpest drop in registrations with 2,561 – a fall of 459 on 2015-16.
But it still remains the area with most new allocations, followed by Canterbury with 2,229 and Swale with 1,697.
By contrast, Sevenoaks was the only part of the county to see a modest increase in migrant worker registrations, up by 13 to 666.
The uncertainty over the status of EU citizens is already creating challenges for Kent employers.
The KM Group recently revealed how hospital trusts had seen close to 400 staff leave in the year running up to the Brexit and its aftermath.
And Kent farmers who rely heavily on seasonal labour have flagged up concerns that the uncertainty may deter workers from abroad taking up jobs.
Credit to: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/kent-sees-significant-fall-in-migrants-130715/