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Who wants to work in the UK?

Loads of people apparently; until the stark realisation dawns, that if the UK leaves Europe, they will be summarily kicked out of the country, if not earning the minimum of £35,000 a year. Despite the fact the UK has a chronic shortage of teachers and medics, the chances are that if Brexit  wins, most overseas practitioners in these professions, will find themselves too poor to remain.

So,for some reason, other Europeans are extremely keen to work in the UK, but British workers are reluctant to cross the Channel for the same purpose. A recent survey, studying millions of online job searches, found 98.5% of Britons want to stay at home for their next job; by far the highest percentage out of the 15 markets looked at.   

By comparison, just 56% of those in Luxembourg want to stay in their country, which has a high level of cross-border commuting to surrounding countries, Belgium, Germany and France.

Britain’s strong economy is one factor keeping workers here and attracting more to move in, while the relative weakness of southern European economies is pushing some citizens to seek work abroad.

Irish, Greek and Danish workers are also keen to move, with around 15% in each country looking for jobs in other countries.

Of the tiny proportion of Britons who want to move abroad, just 15.3% want to go to another EU country, the lowest proportion among the 15 countries studied. For those who do want to stay working in the EU, the most popular destinations are Ireland and France.

Free movement of workers is seen as a key benefit of EU membership, but it seems British workers are the least keen to use that freedom and the US and India are particularly popular non-EU locations for British workers.

Strikingly, Britain is the most popular target country for eight of the other European countries in the study, and the second most popular location in the remaining six nations.

Irish workers are most keen with 12.7% looking for a job in the UK, while Greeks are also interested as 9.5% see Britain as the best foreign destination.

Danish workers are next with 7.1% hoping for a move to the UK, and those from Luxembourg are fourth with 6.1% eyeing up the British jobs market.

Among all EU workers who search for jobs overseas 37.2% are looking at the UK, 12.1% to France and 11.7% to Germany.

The UK gets just as many job searches from the US and India as it does from the EU countries studied, indicating the country’s global appeal.

“Freedom of movement has always been one of the EU’s central tenets but according to this research, Europe is delivering the UK one-way traffic,” said the survey’s economist, Mariano Mamertino.

“It’s very clear that the average Briton is considerably less likely to want to work in Europe than the average European wants to work in Britain.”

The figures could have implications for voters considering which side to back in the upcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, as firms and employees consider the pros and cons of staying in the union.

“Any policy that restricts the mobility of the EU workforce could negatively affect many UK employers who have historically relied on a steady flow of international talent to fill open positions,” said Mr Mamertino.

All true, and hopefully for Britain, Brexit will fail in its quest to cut European ties, overseas workers will not pay much attention to the internecine bickering that is coming up and we can all carry on as usual.

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