Location, location - what is to come for immigration and investment into the UK?

With Brexit behind us and the supercharged, post Covid-19, economic recovery ahead, does the appeal of the UK shines brighter than ever for people looking to relocate?

Post Covid-19

Over the last year, there has been much speculation about how movement, both domestically and internationally, will change as the pandemic eases.

It may come down to the value that people derive from these movements. For example, the daily commute is less appealing in the era of video conferencing, while relocating your business and family abroad is more tangible and will endure.

Therefore, it is anticipated that the reduction of migration into the UK during the pandemic will not last. You could even go as far as to say that the usual appeals of living in the UK have been heightened by a Government focused on promoting the UK’s interests abroad and the tailwind of a post Covid-19 economic recovery.

International standing

Fundamentally, the enduring attractions of the UK have not changed. The UK is ranked 8th globally in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index and 5th within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) High Income Countries subset.

Combined with a world-class services sector and a robust legal system with an independent judiciary, it is hard to see the appeal of the UK diminishing in the eyes of the international business community.

Furthermore, the UK’s respected educational institutions provide reassurance that not only will people be able to staff their businesses here, but they will also be able to provide a world-class education to their family. For the internationally mobile community, the UK will continue to appeal as a place to call home.

Brexit implications

Post-Brexit, the UK is very keen to prove itself as a truly open country for business, and what we have seen so far confirms those intentions. Following the Brexit referendum in 2016, international investment pulled back from the UK as it was unclear what role the country, having left the EU, would play in the world.

Since then, the Government has been committed to not only restoring the country’s reputation abroad but building on it. The UK has now negotiated trade deals with more than 70 countries and has committed to reaching ambitious climate change targets by 2030, which will demand investment and innovation.

It has courted businesses seeking locations for developing emerging technologies and has pushed its "levelling up" agenda, which will see investment to create equal opportunities across British society and lay the foundations for stable economic growth in the future. These endeavours will reassure employers and employees about the UK’s potential outside the EU.

Economic recovery

A more immediate phenomenon is the economic recovery post Covid-19, where the UK is again set to take the lead. The International Monetary Fund forecast that the UK economy will be among the fastest growing advanced economy in 2021, and the fastest growing advanced economy in 2022.

For investors evaluating opportunities, the UK industry is heavily weighted to cyclical sectors, which are expected to perform well in a global economic rebound. Meanwhile, the current debate around the rise of inflation is less applicable in the UK than in other major economies, which will put less pressure on the Bank of England to raise rates in the near future, keeping financing costs low and posing less risk to economic rebound.

This combination of attractive institutions, post-Brexit reinvention, and a post Covid-19 economic rebound will make the UK an attractive destination for investors, entrepreneurs and professionals once again when evaluating where to work, set up their business, and establish their home. While some of these advantages can be accessed from abroad, we see that relocation to the UK will be the best way to access the full suite of what the UK can offer.

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