More professional British people leaving to live and work abroad

by Ray Clancy on November 19, 2012

75,000 professionals and middle managers left the UK in 2010, data shows

More professional people are leaving the UK to work abroad with the latest figures showing that the exodus amounts to 1,500 leaving the country every week.

In total, 75,000 professionals and middle managers left in 2010, the latest available figures from the Home Office, making them the biggest single group of individuals departing Britain.

Most moved because they had been offered a job overseas and intended to stay for the long term with some suggesting that high tax rates are prompting people to become expats.

‘A large and increasing proportion of British citizens emigrating from the UK are those from professional or managerial occupations and this may have implications for the availability of skills in the UK,’ says the report from the Home Office.

Britons leaving the UK are most likely to be going to Australia, followed by the United States and Spain. France, Germany, Canada and New Zealand are also popular destinations.

Of those emigrating from the UK in 2011 with an intention to change their normal place of residence and to stay there more than a year, around 43%, 149,000, were British citizens and the remaining 57% were returning to their country of origin.

Some 72% of emigrants from the UK leave for work related reasons in 2010 almost a half, 48%, of British emigrants were previously in professional or managerial roles.

The report also shows that there appears to be an association between changes in levels of British and European Union citizens’ emigration from the UK and changes in both levels of unemployment and relevant exchange rates. Emigration of non-EU citizens from the UK appears less associated with these economic factors.

Migration of EU citizens to the UK is much more ‘circular’ than of non-EU citizens reflecting the greater freedom of movement of EU citizens, and lower distances and travel costs to return home. Larger proportions of non-EU migrants who came to the UK have settled permanently.

Australia has consistently been the most popular destination country for British emigrants over the last 20 years. An estimated 4.7 million UK born people live abroad with the largest stocks in Australia, the USA, Canada, Spain and Ireland. The UK ranks eighth highest in the world in terms of the number of its nationals living abroad, according to figures from the World Bank.

John Cridland, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, believes that high personal taxes are forcing people to consider moving abroad.

‘These are disturbing figures,’ he said.

The report also said high house prices in the UK made emigration attractive to home owners who were also entrepreneurs, because they could sell up and set up small businesses in expat communities.

‘The growth in house values in the UK compared to elsewhere in Europe may have enabled British property owners to sell up and live more cheaply abroad, while enjoying a better climate and quality of life. However, this may have changed since the recession,’ the report said.

The majority, 61%, of those emigrating from the UK in 2010 were single, 37% were married and 2% were widowed or divorced, the Home Office figures show.

A slightly higher proportion of men than women emigrated in 2010. Around 55% of those emigrating from the UK were men and 45% were women.

Most of the long term emigrants from the UK were of working age. Almost 93% of those emigrating in 2010 were aged between 15 and 59 or 64 years, for women and men respectively.


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