Good jobs, shame about the weather

Dec 21 2002 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Better quality jobs and a relaxed working style are the main reasons migrant workers choose the UK over the United States, according to recent UK government research report.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTi) report, "Knowledge Migrants: The Motivations and Experiences of Professionals in the UK on Work Permits", surveyed over 300 skilled migrants from developed and developing countries who work in sectors including finance, IT, health care and biotechnology.

Nearly 20 per cent of the sample came from Commonwealth countries. Fourteen percent were from the US, 12 per cent from the Far East, 10.7 per cent from Eastern Europe, and 8 per cent from other countries.

While the English language and a liking for UK culture were important factors for skilled workers, salary was not one of the main reasons for seeking career opportunities in the UK.

"Many respondents volunteered that they could have earned more money elsewhere but had sacrificed the money for a more interesting opportunity," the report says.

In response to the question "Why did you decide to work in another country", the top three reasons were all career-related, with financial reasons coming fourth.

The US was the next-best choice because of the "potential for a higher standard of living", notes the report.

The biggest factor in discouraging skilled migrants is the UK's climate (60 percent), with the quality of public services (31 percent) and the ease of getting work permits (26 percent) also considerable obstacles. The full report can be found at