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Foreign interest in UK jobs soars following post-Brexit immigration policy

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The share of searches for UK jobs conducted by foreign workers more than doubled after the launch of the post-Brexit immigration system in January 2021, according to research from jobs website Indeed.

In the UK, the share of job searches conducted by people outside the UK rose from a pandemic low point of 2.2% in April 2021, to 5.5% in June 2023.

Foreign searches remain above the 2017-2019 average of 3.5%.

Searches from within the EU experienced a smaller increase, from 1.5% in April 2021 to 2.8% in June 2023.


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Pawel Adrjan, director of EMEA research at Indeed, said foreign job-seekers will help to solve skills shortages.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Immigration to developed countries has rebounded significantly in recent years, fuelled in large part by tight labour markets and long-term demographic trends including ageing populations and shrinking local workforces.”

Adrjan said Indeed’s findings show that the post-Brexit immigration policy is working.

He said: “Interest from foreign jobseekers in UK jobs has surged beyond pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit levels. We can clearly see the effect of Brexit in the composition of searches from overseas.

“Before Brexit, searches from EU and non-EU countries for UK jobs trended similarly.

“After Brexit, searches from EU countries stayed at around 1.3% down from their 2017-19 average. Meanwhile searches from non-EU countries began to rise, hitting 4.1% in June 2023.

“These trends are consistent with the aims of the post-Brexit immigration system, which relaxed visa rules for non-EU nationals. 

“We’ve also seen a sharp and unabated rise in foreign interest in care jobs since 2021, following the addition of these roles to the shortage occupation list in 2022.”

Personal care and home health was the largest sector of interest for foreign job seekers looking at jobs in the UK, attracting 9.3% of foreign clicks in the first half of this year, most popular among Nigerian, Indian and South African job-seekers.

According to data from care workforce body Skills for Care, vacancies in adult social care fell slightly in 2022/23, from a record 164,000 in 2021/22 to 152,000 in 2022/23.

The research found this is largely due to a large increase in the number of care workers coming to the UK from abroad, from 20,000 in 2021/22 to 70,000 in 2022/23.

Senior fellow at Skills for Care, Simon Bottery said the government needs to improve pay and conditions to attract UK workers to the profession as a long-term solution.

Speaking about the report, he said: “Overseas workers should be welcomed with open arms.

“But at the same time, work needs to start now on making social care a more attractive option for UK workers, otherwise there is no hope of recruiting the additional 480,000 social care staff that estimates suggest are needed by 2035.

“The NHS has a 10-year workforce plan, now it is time for one for social care.” 

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