More than one million foreign workers are planning to leave the United Kingdom as London begins the process of exiting the European Union, amid fears the country is facing a Brexit brain drain, a new research shows.
According to the survey conducted by a global accountancy giant, Deloitte, about 36 percent of foreign workers in Britain say they are preparing to leave the country by 2022, with 26 percent planning to move out by 2020.
These figures show that 1.2 million non-British workers out of 3.4 million in the country are likely to leave the country which is expected to create a severe jobs crisis in the country.
Highly skilled workers from European countries are the most likely to leave the UK, with 47 percent thinking about departing in the next five years.
Some 32 percent of skilled foreign workers say they could change their minds in case the British government makes them realize they are still welcome in the country.
The finding of the study is expected to increase pressure on the government and ensure access to talent is maintained following Brexit.
“Overseas workers, especially those from the EU, tell us they are more likely to leave the UK than before,” said David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte North West Europe.
“That points to a short-to-medium term skills deficit that can be met in part by upskilling our domestic workforce but which would also benefit from an immigration system that is attuned to the needs of the economy,” he added.
On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May provided details of her plan to protect the rights of EU citizens in Britain, saying all of them will have to apply for a special ID card if they want to reside in the country after Brexit. But May’s offer is contingent on Britons living in Europe receiving an equivalent offer.
More than three million Europeans are currently living in Britain and around one million Britons living elsewhere in the EU. The issue of citizens’ rights is one of the three priorities in the Brexit talks which began last week, along with Britain’s divorce bill and the question of Northern Ireland.
“The uncertainty started ticking a year ago, at the time of the EU referendum result,” said Angus Knowles-Cutler, vice chairman and London senior partner at Deloitte.
“At times of uncertainty, skilled workers are quickest to get their CVs out,” he added. “You can’t necessarily expect all the best and brightest to wait around for another few years of uncertainty.”