The number of applicants for work-related migration from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 fell by 20,000 between 2006 and 2007. The final quarter of 2007 saw the smallest quarterly inflow since the first quarter of 2005.
The CIPD’s Chief Economist John Philpott says: “The irony is that the fall is becoming apparent just as the Government is about to introduce its new point based system for managing migration from outside the EU, which will make it harder for employers to hire migrants.”
He predicts that the rate of inflow will probably fall further this year in the wake of the global economic slowdown and as eastern Europeans are finding it easier to work closer to home. “Employers can't take for granted the availability of a steady supply of workers from Poland and other less developed EU states,” says Philpott.