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?