Britain is saying goodbye to thousands of professionals and managers who choose to start a new life as expats rather than stay in the country.
The latest official figures show 75,000 middle managers and executives left Britain in 2010 – making them the largest group of emigrants, says the Home Office.
They comprise half of all expats leaving Britain in a year.
The report states most opted to live elsewhere because of better jobs and salaries, although the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) claims high taxes are also spurring many to leave.
“A large and increasing proportion of British citizens emigrating from the UK are those from professional or managerial occupations and this may have implications for the availability of skills in the UK,” said the Home Office.
Those leaving Britain are most likely to choose to live and work in Australia, followed by the US and Spain, France, Germany, Canada and New Zealand.
High tax spurs brain drain
John Cridland, the director-general of the CBI, said tax cuts would help staunch the flow abroad.
“These are disturbing figures. There is no doubt that the spike in recent years was due in part to high personal tax rates, which the Chancellor is now tackling,” said Cridland.
House prices and business funding availability are also factors in the exodus, claims the report.
“The growth in house values in the UK compared to elsewhere in Europe may have enabled British property owners to sell up and live more cheaply abroad, while enjoying a better climate and quality of life. However, this may have changed since the recession,” the report said.
Around 5 million Brits live overseas, ranking the nation eighth for the number of citizens living in another country.
Around 350,000 people a year leave the UK to live elsewhere, but last year, 200,000 were not British citizens.
The report also highlighted immigrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the least likely to return home once they have moved to Britain.
More than 40% of workers from Australia and New Zealand left Britain within two years of arriving, usually because this ties in with the length of a working visa, although some stayed longer – leaving within five years.
Workers from the US and Canada also returned home within five years.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We actively encourage the brightest and the best migrants and the UK remains an attractive destination.
“But to continue competing and thriving in global race, businesses must invest in the skills of UK workers, and retain our own highly skilled workforce.”