One of the snippets of information to come out of yesterday’s UK Labour Market Update from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), is the number of non-UK nationals that work in the UK.
These numbers are quarter on quarter estimates and do not relate to ‘new jobs’ nor do they relate to the total number of jobs as some people may have more than one job.
The ONS also points out that, as these numbers are not seasonally adjusted, comparisons should be made with those for a year earlier, not the previous quarter. For example, compare January to March 2017 with January to March 2016, not with October to December 2016.
Comparing the first quarter of 2017 with the first quarter of 2016, the number of UK nationals working in the UK rose by 179,000 to 28.31 million (0.63 percent) and the number of non-UK nationals working in the UK increased by 207,000 to 3.55 million (5.8 percent). Breaking this down into European Union citizens and non-EU nationals, non-UK nationals from the EU working in the UK increased by 171,000 to 2.32 million (7.4 percent) and non-UK nationals from outside the EU working in the UK increased by 35,000 to 1.23 million (2.8 percent).
When looking at the twenty years between the first quarter of 1997 and the first quarter of 2017, the number of non-UK nationals working in the UK has increased from 928,000 to 3.55 million. That is an increase of 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent. “This increase in non-UK nationals working in the UK reflects the admission of several new member states to the European Union (EU)” says the ONS.
One of the trends to note on the graph, is that the number of non-EU nationals working in the UK levelled off after early 2009, with the overall increase being driven by EU (non-UK) nationals. The figures here do not include all the people who were born abroad working in the UK, as it is important to realise that many foreign born people working in the UK are British nationals. "For January to March 2017, there were 5.64 million people born abroad working in the UK, but the number of non- UK nationals working in the UK was much lower at 3.55 million. This is because the estimates for people born abroad working in the UK include many UK nationals," says the ONS.
That is to say, people born abroad but qualifying as UK citizens or those born abroad who come to the UK and successfully apply for UK citizenship, are not included.
When you look at those statistics the picture looks very different, as shown in the graph below.