Number Of Brits Emigrating To EU Has Risen By 30% Since Brexit

by : Julia Banim on :
Number Of Brits Emigrating To EU Has Risen By 30% Since BrexitPA Images

New research has found the number of Brits emigrating to countries in the European Union (EU) has risen by 30% since the Brexit referendum.

Many chose to leave quickly, showing a notable increase in ‘levels of impulsiveness, spontaneity and corresponding risk-taking’. Half of those who decided to leave did so within the first three months after the divisive vote was held.


An analysis of data compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat revealed migration from Britain to EU states had boomed to 73,642 annually in the years 2016 to 2018, up from an annual average of 56,832 people in the time period 2008 to 2015.

BrexitPA Images

According to the study, conducted by researchers from Oxford University in Berlin and the Berlin Social Science Center, the greatest escalation in British migration was noted in Spain.

Already a popular choice for British expats, Spain had previously averaged an annual 2,300 migrants in the years between 2008 and 2015. A fivefold increase was detected during the years 2016 to 2018, with 21,250 registrations recorded within this two year time period.


The extraordinary hike in British migrants in Spain was closely followed by France, which saw a tenfold increase from 2016 to 2018. During the years between 2008 and 2015, Germany saw more than 500 registrations each year. This rose sharply, with 5,000 registrations reported over the following two years.

EU protests brexitPA Images

Meanwhile, in Germany, 14,600 Britons had dual nationality in 2019, compared with just 622 in the pre-Brexit era of 2015.

A huge 500% increase was also noted among those who took up citizenship in an EU country after having made the move. Germany has seen a 2,000% rise since the referendum, with 31,600 former Brits naturalising there.


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Co-author Daniel Auer said:

The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has certainly caused large numbers of people to pack their bags in both directions. Unfortunately migration numbers, especially for people leaving the UK, have a high error rate because they rely on approximations from passenger surveys.

For that reason, in our study we use OECD data based on national immigration statistics, available until the end of 2017, so one of the challenges for our study is to better understand the effect of Brexit since then.

Union Jack flagsPA

Brexit was found to be the main motivation of migration decisions since 2016 by a long way, with Brits making huge sacrifices to help alleviate some of the more negative or restricting effects of Brexit.


This includes the freedom to move countries within the EU, or to work and offer services across borders. This doesn’t apply to EU nationals living in the UK, who will retain free movement rights beyond Brexit on account of their EU member state citizenship.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Brexit, EU, Now, UK


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