Applications from EU nurses to work in the UK have plummeted 96% since the Brexit vote

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Getty Images/Christopher Furlong

LONDON – Applications from EU nurses to work in the UK have dropped by 96% since Britain voted to leave the European Union last June, according to figures seen by Sky News.

The data, obtained by the Health Foundation, show that only 43 nurses applied to practice in the UK in April this year, down from 1,303 applications in July last year.

The NHS relies heavily on overseas workers, and the number of nurses arriving from the EU has tripled in the last four years, but applications have fallen sharply as the government pledges to end freedom of movement and slash immigration after Brexit.

British hospitals are currently facing a staffing crisis, with 96% of hospitals short of nurses. Staff reported that patients are being left unwashed, unmonitored, and without crucial medication.

Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to cutting net annual migration below 100,000 once Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

Net migration to the UK was around 273,000 for the year ending September 2016, according to the ONS.