An update on Brexit and the implications for skilled professionals

The European Commission has advised the leaders of the 27 EU member states to proceed with the second phase of Brexit negotiations. That doesn’t mean that a final solution has been achieved on issues of citizen’s rights, the Irish border and the UK’s financial settlement, but it is considered that there is enough common understanding between the EU27 and the British government to continue to the next phase of negotiations.


The next phase is likely to see similar issues; time pressures, a well-choreographed approach from the EU leadership and a weak British government gradually converging with the European position.

Indeed, Donald Tusk, European Council president, warns that the next phase of negotiations is “The most difficult challenge ahead”, The EU27’s unity will now be tested, as national preferences are likely to become more obvious in the next phase. But, as has been the case so far, the pressure – from various conflicting interests – will very much remain on the UK government.

The Brexit effect – are professionals questioning their future in the UK?

Earlier this year, a KPMG survey found that an alarmingly high number of highly qualified professionals are planning to leave the UK because of Brexit. Indeed, almost a million EU citizens working in Britain – many of them young, qualified and much sought-after by businesses – are either planning to leave the country or have already made up their minds to go as a result of Brexit.

The survey of 2,000 EU workers in Britain found that 55% of those with PhDs and 49% of those with postgraduate degrees were either planning to go or were actively considering it.

These findings reinforce fears of a substantial brain drain in the UK. KPMG describes those most likely to leave as “the independent, in-demand, educated and young”. Despite the UK government attempting to reassure EU citizens about their future in the UK, with what it described as a “big and generous” offer, professionals in demand remain keen to leave.

Brexit and the health sector – is it time to escape ‘down under’ for UK doctors and healthcare specialists?

Since the UK referendum’s decision to leave the European Union, Brexit has led to uncertainty about the future and concerns over the ways in which the loss of staff will intensify the already existing recruitment issues within the NHS.

Since the Brexit vote, 10,000 EU health workers have quit the NHS. Furthermore, The British Medical Association found that 12,000 doctors (nearly 7.7% of the medical workforce) are from the EEA and 18% of them have made plans to leave, with a further 25% unsure what to do since the referendum. When questioned, the most prevalent reasons for leaving appeared to be the potential changes to immigration rules, as well as the hostile behaviour and attitudes towards EU nationals.

Many healthcare professionals are finding their professional ambitions thwarted by a system divided by politics. With such a crisis in the NHS, many doctors and nursing staff are considering the huge benefits of migration to Australia. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s best places to live in terms of income, political stability, healthcare and civil rights, the Australian healthcare system itself is ranked as one of the world’s best. Combined with beautiful beaches, stunning scenery and cosmopolitan cities, there are many advantages to a life ‘down under’.

A move to Australasia not only offers a an exceptional lifestyle, but given the healthcare skills shortage in Australia, there are a great many career opportunities, and less competition for training programmes. Indeed, working conditions in Australia are considered to be the best in the world – doctors are set to receive six weeks annual leave and work an average of fewer than 42 hours per week.

What next?

With the much publicised crises in the NHS and the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, there is certainly much to be gained from exploring your career options outside the UK. If, like many, you are considering the benefits of a move to Australia, Ark Migration can help. As a team of experienced visa specialists, we are adept at supporting successful visa applications from professionals, across a range of sectors.

To discuss your migration plans in greater detail, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email