Most British professionals moving abroad 'are of a working age'
Most international movers leaving the UK are of a working age, with the number of people retiring overseas falling, a new report has found.
The Home Office’s Emigration from the UK report revealed that 72 per cent of British people moving overseas in 2011 did so because they had secured a job or were looking for one.
Most expats relocating abroad had either already secured a position with a foreign company or had been transferred abroad by their employer (44 per cent). Most people within this demographic were of a professional or managerial position.
This could prove hugely detrimental to the UK, as skilled individuals are finding that without much scope for career advancement, the only option they have is to seek opportunities abroad. Britain is losing a generation of talent.
The top destinations last year were Australia, New Zealand and Spain. The report commented that Australia has been “the most popular destination country for British emigrants over the last 20 years”.
Other prominent places to head to in addition to those listed above included the US, France, Germany and Canada. Interestingly, for many people of a working age, it is their intention to live and work abroad for a minimum of four years.
“Nearly a third (30 per cent) intended emigrating for between one and two years and 11 per cent for more than two and up to four years,” the report noted. “The remaining seven per cent were unsure about their intended length of stay.”
This perhaps suggests that when it comes to international relocation, a substantial number of people are committed to being away from home for a fairly long time. What effectively impacts on the length of stay abroad depends on two factors: the reason behind the move and the actual experience of being abroad.
For example, British professionals relocating to New York with transnational corporations – which the report defined as intra-company transfers – tend to stay in the US for between one and three years.
Meanwhile, British scientists moving to Boston to work for pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies stay abroad for much longer – approximately 12 years.
Fascinatingly, there appears to be an “inverse association” with British professionals moving overseas and unemployment. The report observed that, in general, when UK unemployment levels fall, more people from the UK will leave the country. Intriguingly, when unemployment rises, emigration drops.
For the most part, emigration from the UK has increased considerably over the last ten years, from 363,000 in 2002 to a peak of 427,000 in 2008.