For decades the UK has been a dream for workers from all over the world.
Because of the opportunities it provides, especially in the capital (London), which is the largest financial center in the world;
However, this situation seems to be heading towards change, after more than one million foreign workers registered the departure of Britain within one year.
A study by the Center for Excellence for Economic Statistics (ESCoE) showed that about 1.3 million foreign workers left Britain during the period from July 2019 to the same month of 2020, which is an unprecedented number, and no parallel has been recorded since World War II. .
According to the same document, the capital London alone lost 700,000 foreign workers, which represents 8% of the capital's population, explaining this "mass flight" by the results of the Corona pandemic, which led to the closure of the economy for many months, in addition to the uncertainty that the "Brexit" negotiations generated ( Brexit) for 4 years.
The reason for the concentration of the phenomenon of immigration of foreign workers in the capital (London) is the losses incurred by the service sector, and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs due to the closure, and the study does not conclude whether these workers will return to Britain after the reopening of the economy or that the situation will continue as it is. .
Leaving a city like London is not an easy decision for anyone who has worked in it for years, and gets to know it closely, and this is the case of Michel Portier, a French citizen, who worked for years in the insurance sector in the capital, London.
“The idea of returning to France had haunted me since the beginning of the Brexit debate, but after the pandemic I settled my mind, and I returned to settle in Paris,” says Portier.
Michel justifies his decision on economic and financial reasons in the first place, "After Brexit, many European companies have moved their headquarters to other European cities, and that is why my work will be better in Paris," noting the psychological dimension in his transfer decision. Many chose to leave London to avoid the surprises of the last hour. "
And as long as London is the best city for the success of service activities;
However, the Corona pandemic hit this sector in a death, due to the long months of closure, and this is confirmed by Jeremy, a French worker who arrived in London 5 years ago to work in a famous hotel.
"I was not lucky because immediately after my arrival and accustomed to the city, and the opportunities it offered, the problems of Brexit began. Despite this, I was determined to stay in London, given the quality of life here, and the volume of opportunities in the service sector."
But Jeremy's view changed after the Corona pandemic, "At first I thought that it would not last long, but after months I decided to return to my country, because economic activity would not return to the capital as it was, and it would take time that I could not bear financially or psychologically."
Post-Brexit procedures have become complicated to get work in Britain for foreigners (Getty Images)
Departures of London
Mustafa Al-Bazarkan, the economic advisor in the Financial District in London, is not surprised by the number of foreign workers leaving Britain, and this, in his opinion, is mainly due to Brexit, as until the last hours of negotiations there was no clarity, and everyone was cautious and afraid for his job. Great to leave the country to avoid the worst.
The same spokesman believes that the services sector, which accounts for 72% of the British economy, was the most job loss.
Because of the decision of major financial institutions and insurance companies to move their headquarters to Frankfurt and Paris, considering that this unstable situation of the services sector in London will make it lose its global position;
Because capital is a coward, and it is looking for stable destinations.
Among the reasons that pushed foreign workers to leave the country is the complexity of post-Brexit procedures in order to work in Britain for foreigners.
For example, the construction sector is highly dependent on labor from Eastern Europe;
But they were forced to return to their countries after discovering that they would be subject to various laws.
The financial expert expresses his fear of Britain losing its attractiveness to an expert workforce and competencies. "In the past, London was the favorite place for the brightest economic and financial minds because it is a global platform, but after Brexit, the situation has changed a lot."
He predicted that London would not be able to maintain its position as the largest financial center in the world.
Hopes for recovery
London economics professor Nihad Ismail admits that Britain has lost its attraction to foreign workers since the vote in favor of Brexit, after they found themselves facing many conditions and restrictions aimed at controlling immigration, especially from Eastern Europe.
Nihad Ismail refers to the results of the Corona pandemic, which has made migrant workers flee since the announcement of the closure of the economy, and the difficult conditions set by the Treasury to benefit from compensation for loss of work, and for this reason many preferred to return to their countries.
The economist is betting on the speed of reopening the British economy with the acceleration of the vaccination process compared to the rest of European countries, then Britain will need a workforce, especially in the industry, agriculture, hotel and restaurant sectors, and these are professions that the British do not like to work in, and for this they need foreign labor.
The financial sector remains the cornerstone of any British economic take-off, as this sector constitutes 7% of the gross domestic product, and unfortunately it was not included in the trade agreement with the European Union, according to Nihad Ismail, who revealed that there is great pressure on the British government to open this file with Europeans.
He says that if there is a clear agreement on this sector, then London will surely become a preferred international financial center for all, and Britain will return to attract foreign workers.