New figures released by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry have suggested that the exodus of EU workers from the capital as a result of Brexit may already have begun much earlier than anyone anticipated.

In a poll for the Chamber conducted by ComRes which surveyed over 500 of London’s businesses, nearly a third (31%) of businesses who employed EU workers said they had lost employees as a result of Brexit.

For larger businesses, that is those with ten or more staff, the impact was even more pronounced with 40% of those surveyed claiming that they had lost EU staff as a direct result of the Brexit vote.

Most shockingly, 15% of those larger businesses claimed that more than 10% of their EU staff had already left the country, suggesting many were not waiting around for issues surrounding their right to remain in the UK to become clearer before making a decision to stay or go.

The status of EU workers living in the UK and the reciprocal agreement for Brits living abroad has been a significant bone of contention in the early negotiations with both sides claiming that the rights of citizens was a significant point of priority when it came to arranging the UK’s exit from the EU.

Chief Executive of LCCI, Colin Stanbridge, described the findings as ‘very worrying’ but ‘not altogether surprising’ and called on the government to provide clarity on EU national’s right to remain. He said:

“We know that businesses are worried by the uncertainty that the referendum result has brought and we know that London is hugely reliant on non UK workers.

“It is almost inevitable then that, some of these workers have decided to leave the UK while they feel they still have the choice to make.

“It is also more imperative than ever that the Government addresses this issue head on and gives EU nationals living and working in London a cast iron guarantee that they will have the right to remain.”

The figures come after a previous LCCI study found that there were around 771,000 EU nationals currently working in London and that the capital stood to lose as many as 160,000 workers if immigration rules for EU nationals were to be tightened post-Brexit.

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Source: Bdaily

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