UK Markets closed

Brexit: UK no longer top destination for foreign jobseekers since vote to leave EU

Stephen Little
EU net migration to the UK fell by 106,000 to 230,000 in the year following the Brexit vote: Getty

The UK’s vote to leave the EU has sent Britain sliding down a ranking of top destinations for European and non-European workers, research by a leading accountancy firm shows.

Back in 2012, the UK was the joint second most popular global destination for European workers looking to relocate. It now doesn’t even make it into the top six, ranking behind the US, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and Spain, according to accountancy firm BDO.

The poll of more than 10,000 people in 20 countries asked respondents to pick their top three destinations to work.

It revealed that the US is the top destination for Europeans considering a new work destination, with 24 per cent of those questioned saying they would like to relocate there. The second most popular country for European citizens to relocate to was Germany, followed by Switzerland, Australia, Canada and Spain.

“UK businesses are already struggling with a skills shortage. The impact of the EU referendum and uncertainty around a new trade deal is likely to make this worse,” said Paul Eagland, managing partner at BDO.

“It’s absolutely imperative that the Government makes it clear to the world that the UK is still a great place to do business and that we continue to attract the world’s bright and best to our country,” he added.

The report also found that the UK had slipped down the rankings as a preferred destination for global workers, including those outside of Europe.

Canada leap-frogged Britain to become the number two target destination for jobseekers across the world, with 22 per cent of those questioned saying they would move there for a job.

In the global survey, the US still holds the top spot despite the percentage of jobseekers that would like to relocate there dropping from 34 per cent to 30 per cent over the last five years.

A recent survey by job site Indeed also found Britain’s popularity as a destination for EU job seekers had plummeted since the Brexit vote.

The Indeed survey, published in December, found that – despite the UK still being the most popular choice for Europeans searching for a job abroad its share of all cross-border job searches has fallen.

Government figures in November showed that EU net migration to the UK fell by 106,000 to 230,000 in the year following the Brexit vote.