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Brits leaving for EU ‘up 30% over Brexit’

BREXIT has sparked a potential ‘brain drain’, researchers have warned after a 30 per cent rise in the number of British citizens leaving the UK for Europe since the referendum vote.

An average of nearly 74,000 people per year migrated to EU countries between 2016 and 2018, shows a study by Oxford university experts and colleagues in Berlin.

That compares with fewer than 57,000 a year from 2008 to 2015.

A comparison with the ‘stable migration flows’ between remaining EU nations shows Brexit was the ‘dominant driver’ causing people here to pack their bags.

‘The study reveals the UK is facing a potential brain drain of highly educated British citizens, who have decided to invest their futures in continental Europe,’ the researchers said.

Dr Daniel Auer, of the WZB Social Science Centre in Berlin, added: ‘These increases in numbers are of a magnitude that you would expect when a country is hit by a major economic or political crisis.’ The number of Brits successfully applying to EU countries for a passport rose by more than 500 per cent across the bloc — and by more than 2,000 per cent in Germany, the study also shows.

British citizens arriving to work in Germany showed ‘impulsivity’ in reaction to Brexit, with 57 per cent taking a ‘big risk’ by migrating.

The majority had agreed to a pay cut or wage freeze to secure their move, whereas before the referendum most had received a pay rise.

The largest rise in migration was to Spain, with France ranking second.