It’s not just about jobs – in a survey from Deloitte, words such as diverse, multicultural and fun came up when immigrants were asked to describe the UK in one word. But there’s a problem, many migrants to the UK, especially highly skilled workers, are thinking of leaving.
The UK is number one. According to the Deloitte survey, it came ahead of the US, Australia and Canada as the favoured global destination. Almost nine out of ten ranked the UK as either quite or highly attractive.
Brexit is changing perceptions, however.
The Deloitte survey asked respondents to name a word that best describes the UK. For migrants already living here, ‘diverse’ came top, with other popular words including, ‘multicultural’, ‘great’ and ‘amazing’. ‘Fun’ was often chosen too, as was ‘welcoming’.
But others opted for ‘confused’.
Of course, ‘opportunity’ was frequently cited, too.
Alas, 36 per cent of non-British workers based here are considering leaving in the next five years, but highly skilled EU workers are the most likely to leave, no less than 47 per cent are considering leaving over the next five years.
London is the most vulnerable – 59 per cent considering leaving, versus 21 per cent in the Northern Powerhouse.
So much for the findings. What can be done?
- Create a new immigration system that recognises the personal choices of international talent
- Invest further to upskill both current and future workers
- Embrace digital and invest in the deployment of technology to automate repetitive tasks
- Work at a regional level to create an appropriate local response
And that is surely the big problem. The government has to communicate the benefits of immigration, otherwise, by giving the electorate what they want, we may see the UK economy suffer.