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UK and Germany main beneficiaries of Spain's brain drain

Wednesday, September 3rd 2014 - 05:26 UTC
Full article 82 comments
The United Kingdom was by far and away the most popular destination with 55% of applicants choosing that country. The United Kingdom was by far and away the most popular destination with 55% of applicants choosing that country.
The most damaging aspects of Spain's economic crisis has been the departure from the country of university graduates and highly skilled professionals. The most damaging aspects of Spain's economic crisis has been the departure from the country of university graduates and highly skilled professionals.

Spain is among the European countries hardest hit by the so-called 'brain drain' effect with thousands of professionals including nurses and teachers taking steps to leave the country in recent years, new figures from the European Union show.

 One of the most damaging aspects of Spain's economic crisis has been the departure from the country of university graduates and highly skilled professionals. With jobs hard to come by and research and development funding slashed in many industries, anecdotal evidence suggests many people have decided to make the move elsewhere.

In 2013, Spain's Employment Minister Fatima Bañez talked down the idea of a brain drain in Spain, saying young people were simply exercising “external mobility”.

But US-based Spanish astrophysicist Moro Martin responded with an open letter to Spain's government in which she argued the country's brain drain was no empty cliché.

“Please let the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology know that the science I do will no longer be Spanish, nor thanks to Spain; rather I will keep doing science in spite of Spain,” she said.

New figures from the EU stats office Eurostat may also give some statistical weight to the idea suggesting Spain has been harder hit by the brain drain effect than many other countries in Western Europe.

Figures show just 6,558 foreign workers applied to work in regulated fields including education, medicine, nursing and law in Spain from 2003 to 2014. Some 84% of these applications were accepted, meaning a net gain of 5.508 professionals, with Germany and Italy being the two main sources of those professionals.

By contrast, some 18,408 Spanish professionals registered to have their qualifications recognized in other European countries. It's not known how many of these workers who had their qualifications recognized overseas went on to practice their profession abroad, but the figures do reveal a negative balance of 12,940 people.

That's higher than any other country in Western Europe, and behind only Poland, Romania and Greece. The professionals most likely to seek to leave Spain were secondary school teachers, nurses and doctors, the Eurostat figures show.

The United Kingdom was by far and away the most popular destination with 55% of applicants choosing that country. Germany and Italy both received 10% of all applications.

Of the total of 18,408 people with Spanish qualifications who had those recognized overseas, 6,202 were recognized as secondary school teachers in the UK and 887 were recognized as doctors in the UK. A further 2,151 Spanish-trained nurses had their qualifications recognized in the European Union.

While the figures represent only a narrow range of professionals leaving Spain, they add to the picture of a country leaking talent.

Some 36,511 Spaniards moved to Germany in 2013, according to Germany's statistics body Destatis. In the same year, 51,000 Spaniards, most under the age of 34, signed up to the UK’s national insurance scheme.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • ilsen

    I wonder if CD2 will turn up warning of the dangers of immigration and the 'end of times' for the UK?
    Maybe paulconejo will rock up claiming that this is further proof of the 'failure' of Britain?

    Seriously though, London is the most popular destination for young, mobile professionals.
    I wonder why that is?
    Culture, Art, History, Diversity, Tolerance, Freedom, Creativity?
    Highest Potential Earnings?
    Well?

    Vote now!

    (... only if permitted in your country of residence...)

    Sep 03rd, 2014 - 09:54 am 0
  • Briton

    Lol.

    Sep 03rd, 2014 - 11:06 am 0
  • paulcedron

    Migration could have a positive and negative impact to the host nation.
    In the case of Argentina, for instance, we receive tens of thousands of immigrants from Bolivia, Perú and Paraguay who get free health care and education at the expense of the Argentinian taxpayer.
    Now they also demand a free house.
    All of that while their governments look away..

    Guess it is more or less the same with those +/- 1 million Brits living in Spain.
    Under the principles of freedom of movement, they get free access to Spanish GPs and, if they become permanent residents, to hospital treatment at the expense of Spanish taxpayers.

    Sapin, like Argentina, should take care of their own citizens instead of helping these opportunists.

    Sep 03rd, 2014 - 11:16 am 0
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