30% rise in Brits emigrating to EU since Brexit

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LONDON

The number of Brits emigrating to EU countries has risen 30% since the Brexit referendum, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

The data from the Eurostat and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed half made their decision in the first three months after the Brexit referendum in 2016.

The research also showed a 500% increase in Brits taking up citizenship of the EU country they moved to.

In Germany, for example, 31,600 Brits naturalized as citizens since the referendum — a 2,000% rise.

“These increases in numbers are of a magnitude that you would expect when a country is hit by a major economic or political crisis,” said Daniel Auer, the co-author of the study carried out by the Berlin Social Science Center and Oxford in Berlin — a University of Oxford subsidiary company and part of the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership.

“Another important finding from the empirical evidence associated with Brexit is reduced levels of consideration and level-headedness in decision-making, with increases in levels of impulsiveness, spontaneity and corresponding risk-taking,” the study said.

Brits will lose their right to free movement in the EU due to Brexit, limiting their employment and residency opportunities. EU nationals in the UK will retain their free movement rights, however.

Co-author Daniel Tetlow said: “Brexit was by far the most dominant driver of migration decisions since 2016”.

He added that “an increasing number are making migration decisions to protect themselves from some of the most negative effects of Brexit on their lives.”

Spain saw the biggest jump in British migration. Around 380,000 Brits live in Spain, but as registration is not compulsory, many have moved without being included in Spain’s immigration data.

In 2008-2015, around 2,300 Brits registered in the country, but after the referendum, 21,250 registered between 2016 and 2018 — a fivefold rise.

France was the second most popular country. It also does not require compulsory registration. Between 2008 and 2015, around 500 Brits registered a year. This increased fivefold as well, to 5,000 registrations between 2016 and 2018.

Germany is another popular destination for the Brits. In 2015, 622 registered, while 14,600 took up dual citizenship in 2019. Between 2016 and 2019, 31,600 Brits received citizenship, and another 15,000 German passports are expected to be handed out to Brits this year.

There are around 120,000 Brits in Germany, with half of them expected to take up dual citizenship by the end of the year.

“We’re observing a new social integration phenomenon and a redefining of what it means to be British European,” Tetlow said. “In 2019, Brits came in just behind Turks in numbers receiving German citizenship — way ahead of Poles, Romanians, Iraqis or Syrians.”

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