MOSCOW: The number of United Kingdom nationals who have acquired citizenship in European Union nations has jumped by 30 percent since the Brexit referendum in 2016, research has found.
The yearly average of UK citizens moving to any of the other 27 EU nations from 2008-2015 was nearly 57,000, while that same figure from 2016-2018 showed an average of over 73,000 annual migrations, the research by the Berlin Social Science Centre, published on Monday, claimed.
This data does not account for the UK citizens who had been residing in EU nations but decided to register after the referendum, The Guardian reported. That number grew by some 500 percent according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat.
Spain was the most popular destination for UK expatriates, with over 21,000 registrations in the two years following the Brexit vote, compared to an average annual number of 2,300 prior, the paper found.
France and Germany also saw a big jump in the number of UK nationals putting themselves on the path to citizenship. About half of the 120,000 UK nationals in Germany are expected to have dual citizenship by the end of the year.
The authors of the study were unambiguous about the impact that Brexit had on decisions to migrate. Because the Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels look likely to restrict employment and residency rights UK citizens had enjoyed, cosmopolitan and mobile Britons prefer to maintain access to a larger pool of employment opportunities and services.
The contentious 2016 Brexit referendum was followed by years of political crisis and a polarised public sphere in the UK. After multiple delays, the UK finally exited the bloc in January 2020. A transition period will run to the end of this year, during which time the two sides must reach deals in a host of fields.