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Employment by Nationality

In July-September 2020, there were 3.16 million people working in the UK who were not UK nationals, 9.7% of all people in employment. This included:

  • 87 million people who were nationals of the 27 EU countries (5.8%)
  • 29 million people who were nationals of countries outside the EU (4.0%)

The remaining 32.51 million people in employment (90.3%) were UK nationals.

The number of people working in the UK who were not UK nationals fell by 428,000 in the year to July to September 2020. The number of EU nationals in work fell by 364,000, and the number of non-EU nationals in work fell by 65,000.

Employment by Country of Birth

We can alternatively look at employment levels based on people’s country of birth rather than nationality. Some people who are UK nationals may have been born in other countries; similarly, some non-UK nationals may have been born in the UK. People can also change their nationality.

In July-September 2020, there were 5.18 million people in employment who were born outside the UK, 15.9% of all people in employment. This included:

  • 98 million people born in EU countries (6.7%)
  • 19 million people born outside the EU (9.9%)

The remaining 27.33 million people in employment (84.0%) were born in the UK.

The number of people in work in the year to July-September 2020 fell by 594,000 for those born outside the UK, while the number born in the UK increased by 299,000. Employment for those born outside the EU fell by 208,000, while employment for people born in EU countries fell by 386,000.

Employment rates

In July-September 2020, the employment rate for non-UK nationals, was 0.9 percentage point higher than the rate for UK nationals, and the employment rate for people born outside the UK was 0.2 percentage point higher than for those born in the UK.


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