Britain is experiencing the worst "brain drain" of any country as highly qualified professionals settle abroad, an authoritative international study showed yesterday.There are, of course, particular problems with emigration and immigration in relation to the medical profession. The fact that we are importing large numbers of foreign doctors, while simultaneously telling thousands of British-trained physicians that they should look to other countries for employment, for example. In these circumstances, we shouldn't really be surprised if doctors take that advice.
Record numbers of Britons are leaving - many of them doctors, teachers and engineers - in the biggest exodus for almost 50 years.
There are now 3.247 million British-born people living abroad, of whom more than 1.1 million are highly-skilled university graduates, say the researchers.
More than three quarters of these professionals have settled abroad for more than 10 years, according to the study by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
No other nation is losing so many qualified people, it points out. Britain has now lost more than one in 10 of its most skilled citizens, while overall only Mexico has had more people emigrate.
The figures, based on official records from more than 220 countries, will alarm Gordon Brown as tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money is spent on educating graduates. The cost of training a junior doctor, for example, is £250,000.
More generally, there are an abundance of reasons why people might choose to leave Britain. Some will leave for purely personal reasons, and others will have more political motives. As examples of the latter, the shadow immigration minister Damian Green cites taxes and government interference, and he's probably right, although I would guess that the present excessive levels of immigration into Britain might also play a very significant role in encouraging people to leave. As would crime levels. And plenty of other things too: just read a few posts from this blog, or any one of a large number of others, to see some examples.
People do not, by and large, move, unless they think that their quality of life will be significantly improved by doing so. The fact that so many British people do believe this is a colossal indictment of the manner in which Labour has run Britain for the past eleven years. They may have won the last election, but large numbers of Britons are voting with their feet, and this vote is not going Labour's way.