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In relation to an Australian statement that there would be "brain drain" from Australia to the UK should a visa-free worker system be adopted between the two countries...

Surely, both Australia and the UK already have in place immigration systems that allow some skilled workers to migrate between the two countries. So a visa-free system would perhaps accelerate trends that already exist, by reducing [procedural] friction in (skilled) worker movement.

Furthermore, given that some Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne have comparable [if not slightly higher] average salaries (even after cost of housing is subtracted) compared to London, I expect that (skilled) worker flows would be bidirectional between the UK and Australia, and probably are so even today. This doesn't exclude the possibility that there would be a net flow in one direction after the bidirectional/gross flows are subtracted. (As for data elsewhere in relation to the last issue I mentioned [gross vs net flows], net flows even inside the US [internal migration, as it is technically called] are only about a tenth of the gross flows, i.e. a lot more US residents migrate (internally) even from rich to poorer areas in the US than the net "drain" flows affecting population distribution in the long run; see box 1 [p. 4] in a recent CEPS/ECOFIN paper, for example.)

So, are there summary statistics available on the gross and net flows of skilled workers (in the recent past) between Australia and the UK?

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    Wages aren’t the only reason to migrate - the UK is losing a lot of doctors and nurses to Canada, Australia and New Zealand because of the hostility and overwork in the NHS right now. The working situation in those three countries are much much better for doctors and nurses, and the pay is often significantly higher. But most doctors leaving the UK for Australia is doing it because of the political situation in the NHS. – Moo Jan 18 at 23:30
  • @Moo: well, if you have actual migration figures just for NHS personnel (to and from other Commonwealth countries), that would be informative to see. – Fizz Jan 18 at 23:32
  • @Moo: interestingly, I found a paper on NHS doctors going to New Zealand... where they don't like it much either, most leaving NZ after one year. – Fizz Jan 18 at 23:48
  • We came to NZ three years ago (wife is a doctor), it’s significantly better overall - but it’s right, many Brits do leave after a time, and in all the cases we have seen personally it’s because of the threat of losing UK registration and not wanting to undergo the trauma of re-registration (which often requires prolonged free work at entry level). It’s also hard when you are literally leaving family at home as well. Medicine is also practiced differently down here, so some find it hard to adapt. – Moo Jan 18 at 23:57
  • The GMC is an abusive body. – Moo Jan 18 at 23:58

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