Overseas workers lose taste for UK amid Brexit worries

Russell Lynch
European workers are avoiding Britain: Getty Images

The UK has slipped down the rankings as a destination for foreign workers since Brexit, research has revealed.

Though the UK remains the third most attractive destination despite the Brexit result, Canada has leapfrogged into second spot, according to the study of 10,000 people over 20 countries, accountants BDO found.

The US is still the most popular destination — preferred by 30% of respondents — but although Canada rose 2% to 22%, the UK fell 3% to 19%.

Among European workers, Britain’s drop in popularity is even more stark, as it dropped out of the top six preferred destinations for the first time since 2012, when it was seen as the second-best location. BDO managing partner Paul Eagland warned: “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.

“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.”

Among Europeans, the US remains the most popular destination, preferred by 24% of workers. Germany, Switzerland, and Australia were joint second on 20%.

Trade talks will commence between the UK and the EU this year before the UK pulls out in March next year.