EU – Free movement of persons (Former Immigration)

This is part of the EU Fact File

Verdict: OUT – Because in reality it is just too complicated unless you are one big country (like the US). The paper work is complicated and again benefits large multinationals with a HR department that can help their new employees with the paperwork. Also the lack of limitations on net-immigration jeopardises housing and public services and according to the graph below is pretty much out of control. Being outside the EU does not stop us from having 2nd homes in the EU nor living there; we have done that since cheap tourism was introduced in the 1960s as per the Spain example below

This is not about pro/con-immigration but about the impact of being in the EU on immigration.

Free movement of persons is2:

  • working as an employee (this includes looking for work for a reasonable amount of time),
  • working as a self-employed person,
  • studying,
  • being self-sufficient or retired

Free movement applies to the EU, EEA and Switzerland (EFTA).


It is incredible hard to find neutral facts in this area due to both pro and con propaganda.

The statistics in this document is mainly based on the Office for National Statistics – ONS.
However this is a low estimate1:

The ONS’s LTIM estimates rely heavily on the IPS, which is an imperfect data source. It is a sample survey, which is voluntary and relies on people outlining their intentions

The population of EU born in the UK stood at just over 3 million in the first quarter of 20151:


Contents of the chart is below:

  • EU: Total EU
  • EU14 – purple: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden
  • Accession – red:
    • 2004 – A8 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) plus Malta and Cyprus
    • 2007 – A2 (Bulgaria and Romania)
    • 2013 – Croatia

It is clear that since 2004 immigration has exploded.

The total net migration (EU and non-EU) is as per below:


Net Migration(3) year-end September 2015:

  • Total of below: 363,000 although ONS states only 323,000 are long-term.
  • EU citizens: 172,000
  • Non-EU citizens: 191,000
  • Where 38,878 are asylum applications
  • No 2015 estimate on illegal immigration (4) – in 2007 LSE estimated it to be 533,000 but this may be incorrect numbers

Foreigners employment(3) in the UK:

  • EU citizens employed: 2.0 million
  • Non-EU citizens employed: 1.2 million

Population comparisons for what is needed per year:

  • York City: 153,717(2011)
  • Derby city: 248,700 (2011)
  • Nottingham city: 310,837 (2013)
  • Leicester city: 330,000 (2011)

Social Security – an Example

So this is not about holiday, where you still need your EHIC and travel insurance5

However to obtain your right it is quite complicated3 just to mention some of forms on social security for workers:

  • A1 – Statement of applicable legislation. Useful to prove that you pay social contributions in another EU country
  • S1 – Certificate of entitlement to healthcare if you don’t live in the country where you are insured
  • S2 – Authorisation to obtain planned health treatment in another EU or EFTA country
  • S3 – Certificate of entitlement to healthcare in your former country of employment
  • U1 – Statement of insurance periods to be taken into account when calculating an unemployment benefit
  • U2 – Authorisation to continue receiving unemployment benefit while looking for a job in another country
  • U3 – Circumstances likely to affect the entitlement to unemployment benefits
  • DA1 – Entitles you to receive medical treatment under special conditions reserved for accidents at work and occupational diseases in another EU country

I have even been asked to fill-out a A1 even though I did not intent to use the local health system as I have a business travel insurance.

Then in addition to this there is local rules like in Spain you cannot do much without a NIE number even when you have a UK NI number.

So the sales pitch is great but when you actually need the help it is not that simple.

In Italy you still pay for emergency services even with a EHIC and a EU passport.

So freedom of movement is not really free…but ask people that actually has done it!

Spain – a pre-EU example

Spain joined the EU in 1986 however immigration started much earlier6:


In 1975, there were approximately 200,000 foreigners living in Spain. A slight increase happened in 1986 when Spain joined the EU.

In 1999, there were approximately7 719,647 foreigners living in Spain so not a huge increase from 1975 and 1986.

The large increase around 1999 was due to non-EU immigration mainly from Morocco and South America7.

At the 1981 census there was only 14,752 British people in Spain however the French and Germans seems to have discovered Spain earlier than we did8.


So Spain was always open to British expats even before Spain joined the EU.

Questions to be asked:

  1. How can we keep accommodating all these people within the current space at current house building rates?
  2. Even if we managed to build a “new Leicester” every year – how would we manage to find all the teachers, doctors and others for the necessary services to be provided?

Good Articles (subscripted)

  1. Russians in Spain:–
  2. Expats in Spain:

References (superscripted)

  6. Spain –
  7. Spain –
  8. Spain –

Change log:

  1. 12/3: Created page and merged with immigration section

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