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‘Don’t just attract overseas talent, retain it’, research suggests

Schemes to retain migrants may become as important as attracting them in the first place

Tags: IPPR, Tim Finch, Phil Woolas,

25th August 2009
: Don’t just attract overseas talent, retain it — is the perception that’s fast emerging among the researchers. They believe with highly skilled individuals opting to move out after short durations, the need of the hour is to come out with schemes to help them stay back.
The Head of Migration at the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) Tim Finch says the migration debate in the UK is fixated with the idea that immigrants come to settle and not enough attention has been paid to the fact that more and more immigrants are spending only short periods in the UK.
Quoting their recent research, he says it shows that many groups of migrants are now increasingly mobile. They are coming to the UK to study and work for short periods and then they are moving on. As global competition for highly skilled migrants increases in future years, schemes to retain migrants may become as important as attracting them in the first place.
The IPPR, after concluding the number of migrants moving out of the UK is on a constant rise, has suggested adoption of active steps to persuade migrants to stay longer in the UK through points based system, retention schemes, simplified visa extensions and tax incentives,
Its other policy recommendations to the Government include better management of short stay migration by piloting and supporting migration information centres and ‘circular migration’; ensuring migrant integration strategies consider the increasing amount of short stay migration; and improving ties with former immigrants to the UK and treating them as a secondary diaspora, which could be regarded as an economic and diplomatic asset
The IPPR in its new report has asserted over 190,000 left the UK in 2007. It is believed the number is less compared to 2008. The findings also bring to the fore the fact that more and more immigrants to the UK are staying for short duration; and the seeping away in the last couple of years is approximately 400,000.
The research carried out in five countries also demonstrated the migrants came to the UK for economic reasons, but left for personal reasons. The migrants with high skills, good education and low barriers to movement were the ones most likely to leave; and were becoming ‘super mobile’.
Phil Woolas, Borders and Immigration Minister, believes: ‘This report further demonstrates that migrants come to the UK for a short period of time, work, contribute to the economy and then return home. Our new flexible points based system gives us greater control on those coming to work or study from outside Europe, ensuring that only those that Britain need can come….
Only those that who earn the right to stay should be allowed a British passport.’

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