New workers stick together and head north of river as they settle in the capital

Larger numbers of new overseas workers coming to the capital are settling north of the river than south with Newham and Brent as the favourite destinations.

334,419 people from overseas registered for a National Insurance number, allowing them to work or claim benefits, in the financial year 2014/15. More than 50,000 are in Newham and Brent, but there are more than 10,000 in 13 of the 20 boroughs north of the river.

The City of London has the highest rate as a proportion of the working age population, but the numbers are small. Newham and Brent stand out clearly, and the top 10 are all north of the river areas.

NI top 10 boroughs

In contrast, 8 of the 10 boroughs with the lowest proportions are south of the river.

NI bottom 10 boroughsNew arrivals from Romania are driving the Newham and Brent numbers. Romanians were allowed free access to the UK labour market from the beginning of 2014. In the financial year 2014/15 nearly 67,000 have settled in London and registered for NI. That’s 20% of all registrations in London.

As our map shows, there are more than 8,000 in both Newham and Brent. That’s around a third of all new overseas NI registrations in each of those boroughs. As previously reported by Urbs, these are the areas that have the highest levels of Romanian born Londoners according to data from the last census in 2011.

NI Map Romanians-2

And it is not only Romanians who are choosing to join established national communities in London. Bulgarians, who also gained free movement to work in Britain in 2014, have predominantly settled in Haringey, Newham and Enfield. These are the three areas with the most Bulgarian-born Londoners according to the census.

Ni Map Bulgarians

The same story emerges for Poles. Ealing has more people from Poland than any other London borough according to the census data. It also has by far the most new NI registrations.

NI Map Poles

The group that bucks this trend is the Italians. 35,000 registered for NI in the past year, the biggest national group after Romanians. The census data shows that Italians living in London favour inner London boroughs with Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea as favourite. As our map shows, new arrivals are still living centrally but Tower Hamlets is the number one choice with Brent and Haringey also proving popular.

NI Map Italians

This shift in emphasis may be due to the changing nature and income level of a growing workforce seeking employment in London amid more difficult economic circumstances back home since the financial crisis.

Source data

See also

What National Insurance really tells us about London’s overseas workforce

The importance of the London factor in overseas worker numbers

London population maps