A fall in job applications from EU workers has eased but firms remain worried about hiring skilled staff after Brexit, says a report.

The manufacturers' organisation EEF said almost a fifth of companies saw a drop in applications from European citizens in the past year.

Nearly half of the UK's manufacturers remain concerned about their ability to access skills post-Brexit, a survey of 230 firms showed.

Almost one in eight manufacturers reported an increase in EU workers leaving their businesses.

Many are returning to the EU permanently, with companies struggling to recruit suitably skilled staff in the UK, said the EEF.

Tim Thomas of the EEF said: "Skills shortages are endemic in manufacturing and engineering and companies are becoming increasingly concerned about their ability to access the skills they need post-Brexit.

"While the slump in job applications from the EU has slowed, there is still much to be done to make sure UK businesses are still able to attract the very best talent from Europe over the coming months as we proceed towards our exit from the EU as well as retaining that talent after Britain leaves the EU."