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Kiwi brain gain wins over brain drain

Kiwi brain gain wins over brain drain

NB: Changes to the Working HolidayMaker Scheme come into effect tomorrow

Monday 25 August. Most Kiwis intend to return to New Zealand to live permanently after doing their big OE in the United Kingdom, according to a recent survey carried out by 1stContact, a major UK recruitment and traveller services company. "Contrary to popular suggestions that New Zealand is suffering from a brain drain, 83% of the 105 New Zealanders surveyed said they intended to return to New Zealand to live permanently after their time in the UK," said Mike Kaye, New Zealander and Managing Director of 1stContact.

"What is often perceived as a 'brain drain' with Kiwis leaving the country is in fact ultimately a 'brain gain' as New Zealanders return home after their big OE with greater skills, more experience and often able to repay their student loans," Mike Kaye said.

54% of those Kiwis surveyed thought that the so-called brain drain was a result of media and politician over-reaction, and 82% felt they had learnt skills working in London that they could not have gained if they had stayed at home. The 1stContact survey follows the announcement by the British Government to lift restrictions with the Working Holidaymaker Scheme for New Zealanders in a move to encourage more young people from Commonwealth Countries to live and work in the UK.

The changes, which include extending the age limit to 30 years old, the opportunity to work in your chosen profession, and ability to work for the full two-year period, come into effect on Monday 25 August.

"The survey results reinforce our belief that relaxing of the restrictions for the Working Holidaymaker Scheme and extending the age limit to 30 years old are positive changes all around," Mike Kaye said.

"Kiwis will always want to travel, and for generations they have gone to the UK for their big OE. Now they can go later (the age limit for eligibility for the visa has been increased to 30 years of age) and can work in their chosen profession for the full length of their two year visa."

Ninety-six percent of those Kiwis surveyed saw the easing of the Working Holidaymaker Scheme restrictions and extension of the age limit to 30 years old as positive changes.

Most of the New Zealanders (79%) surveyed believed that their earning potential would have increased having worked in the UK. 69% also thought their home country should offer more incentives for Kiwis to return to New Zealand.

"Interestingly, the survey also showed that many Kiwis (68%) intend to start their own business when they return from doing their big OE in the United Kingdom," Mike Kaye said.

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