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Italian workers flock to UK in record numbers

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A total of 44,110 Italians signed up to work in the UK in 2013. Photo: anthony kelly/Flickr
16:05 CET+01:00
More than 44,000 Italians registered to work in the UK last year, a jump of 66 percent on the previous year, figures released on Thursday show.

A total of 44,110 Italians signed up to work in the UK in 2013, compared to 26,610 the previous year, the UK’s Office for National Statistics said in its report.

The figures put Italy in third place behind Mediterranean rival Spain, which saw 51,300 of its workers migrate to the UK, and first-place Poland with 111,450 citizens seeking job opportunities in Britain.

But as a year-on-year change, Italy comes top as 66 percent more jobseekers fled the country for the UK, compared to 36 percent for Spain, and 39 percent for Poland.

Not only are Italians taking advance of being able to move freely around the EU, but they are fleeing their own country’s dire unemployment rate and near-stagnant economy. 

Italy’s unemployment rate has now reached 12.9 percent – the highest since month figures began in 1977. The under-26s are fleeing a record youth jobless rate of 42.4 percent, figures released on Friday show.

READ MORE: Italian jobless rate hits record 12.9 percent

Since November 2012 Italy has seen three reform-driven prime ministers who have failed to deliver a strong economic recovery.

As Italy limps out of a two-year recession, with 0.1 percent growth in the last quarter of 2013, Italians abroad said there are more culturally-engrained reasons they took their careers elsewhere.

Speaking to The Local in November, Italian professionals in London said their qualifications and experience were not valued as highly in Italy. They fled poor salaries, a lack of opportunities and a lack of respect for young workers.

READ MORE: ‘I would never go back to Italy’

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