1. Main points

  • Around 1.3 million EU8 citizens live in the UK. The biggest component of this is Polish citizens, which is estimated at 813,700 (average for the years 2013 to 2015).

  • The distribution, hotels and restaurants industry was the most common employer for the EU8 workforce, employing 225,400 EU8 citizens, 4.4% of all workers in this industry

  • There were 186,500 EU8 citizens working in the manufacturing industry, accounting for 6.7% of the workforce.

  • The number of UK citizens living in the EU8 countries in 2016 is relatively small – 14,100 – and these people are predominantly aged 15- to 64-years old (72%).

  • There are more than 33,000 under 15-year-olds living in the EU8 countries (particularly Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia and Lithuania), who were born in the UK. In comparison there are about 1,000 under 15-year-old British citizens living in EU8 countries.

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2. Introduction

This report is the second in a series being published to provide more information on British citizens living in the European Union (EU), and EU citizens living in the UK. This series has been created in response to an increased user need for data about the people who may be most likely to be affected by the UK's decision to leave the EU.

It presents the available statistics that estimate the numbers of British people living in EU8 countries – those that joined the European Union at the same time and share characteristics: Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia and Latvia. The report also considers citizens of EU8 countries living in the UK.

We previously published How many British citizens live in Europe?' on this topic. Now, more up-to-date data about British citizens living in the EU is available, and more detailed analysis has been conducted using data from the 2011 round of European censuses. In addition, we have combined the Annual Population Survey into a 3-year-average data set, allowing a robust analysis of European citizens living in the UK. Additional analyses of short-term migration and visits of less than 28 days are also included in this report. Together, these sources provide a more complete picture of how many UK and EU citizens are “living abroad”, how many are staying abroad for shorter periods of time, and what they are doing while there.

There are three “types” of migrant discussed in this report:

  • Long-term resident; those people who have lived abroad for one year or longer, or intend to live there for one year or longer. However, because this doesn’t include those spending part of the year abroad, two further “types” are considered.
  • Short-term migrant; those spending 1 to 12 months living abroad. This can be for any reason, and would include those who spend part of the year living abroad (for example, summer in EU8 countries and winter in UK).
  • Visitor; those spending up to 28 days abroad. This group is largely holidaymakers, and will include, for example, those who repeatedly spend time in EU8 countries.

All of the statistics in this report use a citizenship definition to identify migrants, as this is considered to be the most useful in identifying those who may be most likely to be affected by the UK's decision to leave the EU.

This is particularly the case when compared to the use of a “country of birth” definition of a migrant, which can miss some groups of citizens. Differences in the use of these two definitions are fully explained in the January 2017 report, What information is there on British migrants living in Europe?’.

Citizenship can change over time, and multiple citizenships can be held. The way that multiple citizenships are dealt with is different between the different data sources in this report. For more information, please see Appendix 1.

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3. EU8 citizens living in the UK

There were 1.4 million EU8 citizens living in the UK in 2015, according to the Population by country of birth and nationality estimates, based on one year of data from the Annual Population Survey (APS).

For more detailed analysis it is necessary to use the 3-year pooled APS dataset, which provides a larger sample than annual data. It is an average for the years January 2013 to December 2015.

It is estimated that 1.3 million EU8 citizens live in the UK (Annual Population Survey, 2013 to 2015). The biggest component of this is Polish citizens, which for 2013 to 2015 was estimated at 813,700. This is the largest number of citizens resident in the UK of any country outside of the UK.

Figure 2 shows the age of EU8 citizens living in the UK. 74% are aged 15- to 49-years-old.

A dependency ratio shows the relationship between what is roughly defined as “most likely to be working age”, or 15 to 64-year-old, population and the population under 15 years and over 64-years-old.

The APS data for 2013 to 2015 show that the UK population of UK citizens has 1.8 people that are aged 15 to 64 years, for every one person that is not (Table 1), 2.7 for the EU14 (pre-2004 EU countries) and 3.9 for EU8 citizens.

Table 1 shows the relationship between the number of 15 to 64-year-olds and the number of children is similar for UK citizens and EU8 citizens. However, there are very few EU8 citizens aged over 65-years-old – there are 88.6 EU8 15 to 64-year-olds for every EU8 citizen aged over 65. The equivalent for British citizens is 3.5.

In addition to recent arrivals from EU8 countries, the 2011 Census of England and Wales (Figure 3) estimated that more than 100,000 EU8-born residents of the UK in arrived before 1981.

The vast majority of EU8 citizens maintain their EU8 citizenship – in 2016 there were around 7,000 grants of British citizenship to those from EU8 countries (about 0.5% of the most recent estimate of 1.4m EU8 citizens APS 2015).

Notes for EU8 citizens in living in the UK

Annual Population Survey (APS) data is collected from individuals in households, but does not include most communal establishments (managed accommodation such as halls of residence, hostels and care homes); this means that students living in communal establishments will only be included in APS estimates if their parents (resident in a household) are sampled and include the absent student. Students living in non-communal establishments will be captured in APS sampling.

The APS will include long-term migrants and some short-term migrants although it is unlikely to include short-term migrants living in the UK for very short periods of time.

These factors could have a disproportionate effect on certain categories of overseas nationals.

The APS 3-year pooled dataset Jan 2013 to Dec 2015 is less sensitive to more volatile trends than 1-year datasets as this dataset encompasses 3 years

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4. What are EU8 citizens living in the UK doing?

Figure 4 shows that on average, 80% (820,000) of EU8 citizens aged 16 to 64 years and resident in the UK were employed at the point they were surveyed in 2013 to 2015. EU8 citizens made up 3% of all those employed in 2013 to 2015.

The distribution, hotels and restaurants industry is the most common employer for the EU8 workforce, with 28% working in this industry. The distribution, hotels and restaurants sector employs 5.2 million people, 4% of whom are EU8 citizens.

In total, there are 186,500 EU8 citizens working in the manufacturing industry, accounting for 6.3% of all jobs in this sector.

Around a quarter of citizens of Poland, Estonia and Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia working in the UK work in manufacturing (Figure 5), compared to around 10% of the population as a whole.

This is particularly the case for manufacturing of food products, for which EU8 citizens make up 24% of the workforce.

The banking and finance industry is particularly popular for citizens of the Czech Republic, 31% of those working in the UK work in this Industry.

83,200 EU8 citizens worked in the public administration, education and health sector in 2013 to 2015.

This includes 25,100 EU8 citizens in human health activities (1.1% of all workers in this sector), 22,300 in education (0.7%), and 19, 300 in residential care (2.2%).

This compares to 189,100 EU14 citizens work in public administration, education and health, with 51,000 in human health (2.3% of all workers in this sector), 82,900 in education (2.6%) and 13,900 in residential care (1.5%).

Note that the industry sector does not necessarily reflect job content – for example, people working in the manufacturing industry occupy a variety of jobs, such as managerial, operative and cleaning.

Overall levels of self-employment amongst EU8 citizens are similar to that of UK citizens (14% vs 15%). Figure 7 shows the proportion of self-employed workers by the industry sector they worked in. 39% of EU8 citizens were self-employed in the “Construction” sector.

As shown in Figure 8, 32% of EU8 citizens resident in the UK worked in elementary occupations in 2013 to 2015, compared to 11% of the total population. Process, plant and machine operatives (19% vs 6%) and skilled trade occupations (16% vs 11%) also have differences.

Professional occupations are those that require a degree or equivalent qualification, postgraduate qualifications and/or a formal period of experience-related training. Elementary occupations require a minimum general level of education (that is, that which is acquired by the end of the period of compulsory education). Examples of elementary jobs include office cleaners, freight handlers, garden labourers, and kitchen assistants.

Previous analysis has shown that 40% of EU8 nationals are over-educated for the job they are working in.

Our report International Migration in the Labour Market provides more information on the number and characteristics of migrants in the labour market.

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5. 1-12 month Short-term Migration to England and Wales by citizens of EU8 countries' 

There were 147,000 short term visits to England and Wales by EU8 citizens in the year to mid-2015.

“Other” reasons (74,000) were the most common reason for visit. In these data, “Other” reasons include holidays and travelling; visiting or accompanying family and friends; working holidays; medical treatment; and religious pilgrimage.

35% of short-term migrants with EU8 citizenship visited England and Wales for employment, in comparison with 27% of short-term migrants with any EU citizenship, or 14% of total short-term migrants to England and Wales. Employment”is defined as migration to work, paid in the new country in which the migrant works and ”work (other)is defined as self-employment and visiting on business for their existing employer. This would include migrants travelling for seasonal agricultural work.

Study includes all formal higher and further education but excludes evening and informal tuition.

1% of short-term migrants with EU8 citizenship visited England and Wales for study, in comparison to 15% of short-term migrants with any EU citizenship, or 17% of all short-term migrants.

Notes for 1-12 month Short-term Migration to England and Wales by citizens of EU8 countries

Short-Term International Migration estimates are derived from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) which is a sample survey and therefore subject to some uncertainty. When data are disaggregated to a country level confidence intervals will be larger, but the data are useful as a broad indication of trends. These data only include those travelling to and from England and Wales.

This data source estimates the number of journeys, rather than the number of people visiting. There is evidence to suggest that due to the sampling design and coverage of the IPS between 2004 and 2008, coverage of some routes may have caused some short-term migrants to be missed. For more information, please refer to our Quality of Long-Term International Migration estimates from 2001 to 2011 full report.

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6. EU8 Citizens visiting the UK for less than 28 days

There were 3.3 million visits to the UK by citizens of EU8 countries in 2016. Citizens of Poland (1,889,400) made the most visits to the UK of any EU8 country in 2016. Short holidays and visits to family and friends together made up about 51% of visits.

The single most common reason for citizens of EU8 countries to visit the UK was business – 46% of visits in 2016 were for business.

There were 7,237,000 business visits of less than a month to the UK by EU citizens. Polish citizens made the most visits for business reasons, with 879,000, followed by French citizens (762,000) and German citizens (759,000).

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7. UK citizens living in EU8 Countries

The number of UK citizens living in EU8 countries is 14,100. British migrants living in these countries are predominantly 15 to 64 years old (72%). Of the British citizens resident in EU8 countries, 42% are resident in the Czech Republic.

There are more than 33,000 under-15-year-olds living in the EU8 countries (particularly in Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia and Latvia) who were born in the UK (Figure 12). Fewer than 1,000 are British citizens (Figure 11), , they are largely citizens of EU8 countries. These are likely to be children born to immigrants who were living in the UK and have since returned (emigration peaked for EU8 citizens in 2008).

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8. Pensions claimed in EU8 Countries

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) report (from administrative data) shows that there were around 6,000 individuals in receipt of a UK State Pension at November 2016 in EU8 countries.

Figure 13 shows that the number of UK State Pension recipients living in EU8 countries has increased most dramatically in Poland. Around 2,900 UK State Pension recipients lived in Poland at November 2016, twice the number compared to November 2010.

Anybody with qualifying National Insurance contributions and/or credits can receive the UK State Pension, so recipients are not necessarily British. Registering an address of an EU8 country is not confirmation that the recipient is a long-term resident of an EU8 country.

As there is not a corresponding rise in the number of British citizens aged over 65 years living in EU8 countries, it is likely that the increase is due to EU8 migrants returning home and claiming the State Pension they are eligible for by working in the UK.

Notes for UK citizens living in EU8 countries

UK State Pension

  1. These data on State Pension recipients include both British citizens and non-British citizens who qualify for a UK State Pension. The data are for people who have notified the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that they are resident overseas. People are required to inform DWP about any change in their circumstances, including a change of address.

  2. The Eurostat 2016 data is based on data about the population of each country on January 1 submitted to Eurostat by each country. This refers to the usually resident population and is either based upon population registers, or the last population census of that country adjusted according to population change figures. Both population estimates and census data records those long-term migrants who have lived or intend to live in EU8 countries for more than a year. It doesn’t estimate those who live in EU8 countries for shorter periods of time, or who split their time between EU8 countries and the UK. Totals may not sum due to rounding.

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9. 1 to 12 month short-term migration to EU8 countries, by UK citizens, from England and Wales, for the year to June 2015

British citizens made 27,000 visits of 1 to 12 months (with a confidence interval of plus or minus 11,000) to EU8 countries in the year to June 2015. Most (23,000) were for “Other” reasons. “Other” reasons include: holidays and travelling; visiting or accompanying family and friends; working holidays; medical treatment; and religious pilgrimage.

The majority of visits were to Poland (19,000), for other reasons (17,000).

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10. British citizens visiting to EU8 countries for less than 28 days

There were 1,517,300 visits to EU8 countries by UK residents in 2016. 66% of these were for holidays (Figure 14). The most common country for visits was Poland, mostly for visits to friends or relatives.

Estonia received the fewest visits from UK citizens in 2016.

Notes for British citizens travelling to EU8 countries for less than 28 days

This estimates only the number of visits made – there may be multiple trips by one person. This data might also include (but not identify) those who travel to and from EU8 countries regularly. For the purposes of this report, data are provided for only those visits of 28 days or less, so that there is no overlap with short-term migration estimates.

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11. Appendix 1: More information on how the data were compiled

This report provides updated figures to those previously published in January 2017 the report, What information is there on British migrants living in Europe?'.

The January 2017 report established the resident population of citizens as the most useful statistics for identifying who may be affected by the UK's decision to leave the EU. This is particularly the case when compared to the use of a “country of birth” definition of a migrant, which can miss some groups of citizens. It should be noted that people can change their citizenship and some people hold multiple citizenships.

This report uses a variety of additional data sources to provide more up-to-date data on the resident populations and the number of short-term migration events and visits by British citizens to the EU (and by EU citizens to the UK), which may be affected by the UK's decision to leave the EU.

These data sources are not always comparable (see table 2 below for the definitional differences between them). For example, the sources used to identify British citizens in EU8 countries are on a different basis to the sources used to identify EU8 citizens in the UK. However, they have been selected as the best available date to indicate the number of citizens in the UK and the EU8 countries.

Limitations of this research

In order to provide detailed information on the characteristics of individual nationality groups living in the UK, which is robust, it is necessary to average data over a 3-year time period, from 2013 to 2015. When considering EU8 nationals, there is an impact, because the resident population from EU8 countries has increased in this time period. These differences have been quantified in Table 3.

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Contact details for this Article

Melissa Randall
pop.info@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44(0)1329 444661

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