More than a million of the highest-qualified and best-trained Britons have gone to live abroad and are contributing to the wealth of other countries, a report found yesterday.
They have made up more than half of the British emigrants who have gone abroad over the past 14 years to work in countries including America, Australia, or, increasingly, Germany, it found.
The report from the immigration think tank MigrationWatch warned of a new brain drain and said that no other country loses as many university graduates through emigration.
The analysis of who is going abroad comes at a time when numbers of people leaving the country to live abroad have plummeted, mainly thanks to the recession. At the same time levels of immigration have remained at sky high levels. As a result net migration – the number of people added to the population by migration – last year totalled 239,000, the second highest total ever.
The new report said that professionally qualified workers and experienced managers continue to make up the majority of emigrants from Britain, numbering more than 50,000 in 2009.
It put the number of British graduates working abroad at 1.1 million, and added many will stay away permanently.
Citing the verdict produced by the Paris-based grouping of rich nations, the report said: ‘This is consistent with the findings of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that the UK suffers from a brain drain less serious only than Mexico whereby a significant proportion of its tertiary level educated go overseas to work.
The report said the need to import engineers means that British companies may be paying too little for highly qualified staff.
The UK Border Agency Shortage Occupation list includes civil engineers, mechanical engineers and electrical engineers among others. It said, perhaps suggesting that UK companies are not paying sufficiently well to keep the brightest and the best. Despite the NHS claiming to be reliant on migrant labour, 27 per cent of our skilled emigrants had a health or education degree.