Last week, the deadline passed for EU citizens living in the UK to apply for the right to stay, prompting concern about what will happen to people who didn’t apply in time. But the more extraordinary story is about the numbers who did apply. By Marchmany of them flouting social distancing practices a, there had been 5.3m applications from almost 5m individuals for “settled” or “pre-settled” status (some people applied twice). By all accountsThe inscription, there has been a last-minute rush since then.
Yet in 2019EU & more, the Home Office estimated the total pool of people eligible to apply for the scheme was only between 3.5m and 4.1m. Applications by people from Romania and Bulgaria had reached about 918,000 and 284,000 respectively by March, while the latest official estimates of their resident populations were 370,000 and 122,000 respectively. Some applications will be from eligible family members or from people who have left the UK. Even so, it seems clear the UK’s population and migration estimates have been “wholly inadequate since at least the mid-2010s”, as economist Jonathan Portes has written.
It is ironic that we are only learning just how big a deal European migration was for the UK at the moment we are confronted by life without itThe incident reignited a fierce conversation over whether outdoor activities should be banned during Ontario. For an insight into how the era of EU free movement transformed some corners of the economy, you could do worse than to study the factories that process our food.RELATED: Sutton Irish bar offering FREE pints of Guinness this St. Patrick’s Day
This sector, heavily reliant on workers from the EU, was always going to face a reckoning, since the government’s new post-Brexit immigration regime has put a stop to most low-paid migration. But the pandemic has hastened the crunch by prompting many EU workers with settled status to go home (no one knows how many). In meat processing, where EU workers account for more than 60 per cent of staff, employers are complaining of acute labour shortages.
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