EU nationals are "scrambling" to secure their futures in London's financial sector as the two-year-long talks between Brussels and the UK kick off, a City headhunter said on Tuesday 15 August.

The latest Morgan McKinley employment monitor found that there had been a 1% hike in jobs available in July compared to June. But the research also revealed that there had been a 11% drop in open positions when compared to the same month last year, with a 33% decrease in professionals seeking jobs between 2016 and 2017.

"Normally the City clocks out for July, but with the industry being swept from under them, people are scrambling to make the most of the time left in the EU," said Hakan Enver, operations director of Morgan McKinley Financial Services.

"EU nationals who want to stay in Britain have a shrinking window of opportunity to get a job and permanent residency, and many are seizing it. The City is still haemorrhaging talent because of Brexit, and we risk losing jobs, too."

The comments come more than a year after the UK voted to split from the EU in June 2016. Talks between Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier started in July 2017, with both parties prioritising the residency rights issue of the more than three million EU nationals in the UK and over one million Britons living on the continent.

Free movement of people and the future UK and EU legal framework is a top concern for City firms. US financial services company Morgan Stanley has reportedly chosen the German city of Frankfurt as its post-Brexit EU hub, while the Bank of America is apparently planning to move some of its London roles to Dublin.

Elsewhere, the latest Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) jobs report found there was sharp growth in staff appointments and a "robust demand" for staff in July. "London in particular is feeling the Brexit effect," said Kevin Green, the chief executive of the REC.

"Hiring is still growing but at a much slower rate compared with every other region of the UK. Financial services, a crucial part of the London labour market, are not hiring in their usual quantity as the uncertainty caused by Brexit makes them hesitant.

"We can't ignore the importance of our relationship with the EU to employers. If we want to keep our jobs market successful and vibrant, we must make it easier, not harder, for employers to access the people they need."