1. There are around 1.2 million British born people living in another EU country, according to figures provided by the UN. Around 800,000 will be workers and their dependants. This is much less than the estimated 3.3 million people born in another EU country who now live in the UK, of which 2.1 million are working.
2. According to the United Nations Population Division, the number of British people living in the EU is 1.2 million. (The largest communities are in Spain – 309,000, Ireland – 255,000, France – 185,000 and Germany – 103,000. See Annex A.)
3. Many of the British emigrants to Europe, especially Ireland, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, France and Spain, are self-sufficient retirees so the numbers in employment are fewer than the total number of residents. The data on the total number of British workers in EU countries is however unavailable since many countries do not collect this. We do know that there are around 400,000 pensioners in receipt of a DWP pension living in Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Germany and we can therefore assume that these people are not working. From this we can estimate that of the 1.2 million British people living in in another EU country, around 800,000 will be workers and their dependants.
4. In 2013/14 the UK spent £1.4 billion on state pension payments to recipients living elsewhere in the European Union.
5. EU partners charge the NHS for the costs of treating British pensioners. In 2013/14 the UK paid £580 million to other EEA countries for the treatment of British pensioners resident in the EEA while it received just £12 million from other EEA countries in the same year for the treatment of EEA pensioners in the UK.
6. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Force Survey estimates for 2015, there are 3.3 million EU citizens in the UK – 1.6 million from the EU14, 1.3 million from the EU8, 300,000 from Romania and Bulgaria and the remainder from the other EU countries of Malta, Cyprus and Croatia.
7. The ONS Labour market statistics estimate that of the EU born migrants in the UK, 2.1 million were working.
8. The government’s paper 'The Process for Withdrawing from the European Union' argues that British citizens in the EU should not assume that rights acquired under free movement rules 'would be guaranteed' if the UK were to vote to leave the EU. However, in such a circumstance. international law would guarantee the rights of Britons living and working in EU member states. Under a principle enshrined by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969, withdrawal from a treaty releases the parties from any future obligations to each other but does not affect any rights or obligations acquired under it before withdrawal. This is backed up by research conducted by the House of Commons Library.
9. In addition, any action to remove British citizens currently in EU member states would directly contravene Article 19 of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, under which collective expulsions are prohibited. The collective expulsion of foreigners is also forbidden under protocol four of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article four of which reads: “Collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited.”
EU born residents in the UK and British born residents in the EU in 2015
|EU Born in the UK||UK born in the EU|
1. The UN figure of 1.2 million contrasts with the government’s preference for using a larger figure of two million. For instance, the government paper 'The Process for Withdrawing from the European Union', published on 29th February, (pp. 17 & 22) states that there are two million UK citizens who live and work in the EU. This figure was also given in a parliamentary answer by Baroness Warsi to Lord Oakeshott in February 2014. The figure of two million looks to be an overestimate. It comes from a 2010 report by the Institute for Public Policy Research entitled ‘Global Brit’. In estimating how many British people were living in Spain and France the think tank multiplied the official figures by four to obtain their results. This appears from the report to have been on the basis of anecdotal information about one area of Spain from a singular consular official. The discrepancy may also result from different approaches being used to count those who spend only part of their time in the EU. The House of Commons Library, however, uses the lower estimate.
23 March, 2016