No matter what Brexit might have in store for foreigners, the UK remains a powerful magnet for youth from Italy and Greece looking for a job and a better future.
That’s according to the latest data on the UK national insurance number from the London-based Office for National Statistics, and may reflect the different pace of economic recovery from the last decade’s slump across the euro region.
In the year to June, over 15,000 Greeks obtained the insurance code for the first time, rising 13% on an annual basis, according to ONS. The official number is required to work in the UK.
Greece, Spain and Italy have the highest youth unemployment rates in the euro region, according to the latest data from the European statistics office Eurostat.
“For many Italians and Greeks, the benefits of emigrating are still higher than the costs of abandoning their home country,” said Tommaso Frattini, an associate professor of Economics at the University of Milan. “The gap with other Euro-area nations is significant and seems to mirror the two countries’ weak recovery.”
In the eight years though 2015, when record-long, double-dip recessions shrank the two nations’ economies and destroyed millions of jobs, almost 54,000 national insurance numbers were assigned by UK authorities to Greeks.