The number of British nationals emigrating to other EU countries has risen by 30% since the Brexit referendum, with half making their decision to leave in the first three months after the vote, research has found.
Analysis of data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat show that migration from Britain to EU states averaged 56,832 people a year in 2008-15, growing to 73,642 a year in 2016-18.
The study also shows a 500% increase in those who made the move and then took up citizenship in an EU state. Germany saw a 2,000% rise, with 31,600 Britons naturalizing there since the referendum.
“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, co-author of the study by Oxford University in Berlin and the Berlin Social Science Center.
According to interviews, half chose to leave the UK quickly. “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 researchers said.
While the withdrawal agreement signed in January enshrines the residency, work, and social rights of EU citizens in the UK and Britons in the rest of the bloc, it failed to guarantee the free movement rights of British migrants, restricting the future employment and residency prospects in other member states.
Co-author Daniel Tetlow said that “Brexit was by far the most dominant driver of migration decisions since 2016”. The jump in citizenship was “further evidence that an increasing number are making migration decisions to protect themselves from some of the most negative effects of Brexit on their lives”, the report said.
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