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UK continues to attract highly skilled migrants

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The number of highly skilled migrants coming to the United Kingdom continues to exceed those leaving the country, according to a new study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The report found that 1.1 million UK citizens with university degrees are living abroad in other developed countries. However, the exodus has been outweighed by a large influx of highly educated, foreign-born immigrants who have entered the country under popular immigration schemes.

Many highly educated immigrants come to the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP), a points based system which assesses a migrant's chances of being able to enter the country based on his/her age, past earnings, education, and experience.

The HSMP will soon become part of "Tier 1" -- the first tier in a new all-encompassing five tier points based system that will replace immigration routes related to work, study, or training for non-European Union nationals.

Even with the large influx of highly skilled migrants, the UK is experiencing the largest exodus of highly skilled citizens of all OECD countries. Germany is second with 860,000 highly skilled workers leaving the country, followed by America with 410,000 and France with 370,000.

The study also found the highly skilled migrants were significantly better educated than than their UK-born counterparts. 38.4 percent of foreign-born adults in Britain have degrees in higher education, compared to 20.1 percent of the native-born population.