The UK is the number one destination for overseas workers, but Brexit makes EU workers consider leaving.
Britain is by far and continuously the most popular potential place to move to among foreign workers – this is partly because of the country’s job openings, cultural diversity and healthy work-life balance.
However, among EU workers already in the countryside, the scenario is a little bit different. The majority of highly skilled staff from the continent think Britain is less engaging following the Brexit vote, and one-third of all non-British workers in the UK are looking to leave within the next five years.
A Deloitte survey’s figures underline the importance of reaching a deal with the EU on the future rights of foreign workers in Britain.
“One-third of highly skilled international workers say that a vigorous and positive statement from the government about their future status will go a long way to improving the attractiveness of the UK,” said David Sproul, Deloitte’s chief executive for NW Europe.
“We should determine how much migration our economy needs to fill any skills gaps – this requires a measured approach to immigration that takes account of the needs of business and the choices available to those who work outside their country of birth.”
In additon, he said that the UK would want to act quickly to prevent the current skills shortage from getting worse if those workers do indeed up sticks and head back over the Channel.
“That points to a short to medium-term skills deficit that can be met in part by upskilling our domestic workforce but which would also benefit from an immigration system that is attuned to the needs of the economy,” he said.
The survey found that 89% of non-British workers found the UK attractive and, of those outside the UK, 87pc would consider moving to the country for the right job.
Highly skilled non-EU workers are the keenest to relocate to the UK, with 94% willing to move, while 83% of similar EU workers would join them.
The numbers are only a little bit lower for less-skilled workers.
Britain came in the top three countries in 57% of respondents’ answers when workers in other nations were asked to list the most attractive countries to move to. And that is well above the other Anglophone countries which are usually seen as popular destinations – 30% of lists including the US, 21% Australia and 19% Canada.
However, overseas workers who are already in the UK are a little less fascinated with life in the country.
48% of migrant workers see Britain as less attractive as a result of the referendum, with 65% of highly-skilled EU workers agreeing with that sentiment., the study found.
As 47% of those highly skilled EU workers are considering leaving in the next five years, it could drive some to leave.
For non-EU workers that number falls to 38%, while for lower-skilled staff the figures are 27%.
Indicating there could be some number in the proportion of workers from overseas leaving Britain in the years ahead, those figures compare with an annual turnover rate of about 5%.