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420% increase in skilled Zimbabweans leaving for the UK as economy collapses

Zimbabwe is fast-losing skilled people to the United Kingdom after more than 8 000 people were granted skilled work visas by the British government from the year 2020 to 2022.

According to UK government data, Zimbabwe is in the top five of skilled visas to the UK, despite having a relatively smaller population.

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Visas increased by 424% since 2020, with the health sector the most affected as health professionals continue to leave the country over poor pay.

A report by the UK government says: “In the year ending March 2022, Skilled work visa grants increased by 66% (+72,208) to 182,153, compared with the year ending March 2020. There were 73,400 grants of Skilled worker visas and 75,963 grants of Skilled worker Health & Care visas.”

The report continues: “Intra-company transfer (ICTs) grants increased by 17,009 (+125%) to 30,617 compared with the year ending March 2021, however, ICTs are still 35% lower compared with the year ending March 2020. This continues the decline since 2016 for the ICT visa route.

“Indian nationals continue to be the top nationality in the Skilled work category, accounting for over two-fifths (44%) of visas granted.

“They also saw the greatest increase in skilled work visa grants compared to the year ending March 2020, increasing by 25,209 (+46%). In contrast, grants to nationals of the United States reduced, compared to the year ending March 2020, falling by 1,152 (-14%).

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“There has been a particularly large proportional increase in visa grants to both Nigerian nationals (+214%, +8,771) and Zimbabwean nationals (+424%, +4,490) since the year ending March 2020.”

During the year ending March 2020, 1 059 Zimbabweans were granted skilled work visas by the UK government.

The number rose to 1 735 during the year ending March 2021 and rose sharply to 5 549 during the year ending March 2022.

See the table below for more:

NationalityYear ending March 2020Year ending March 2021Year ending March 2022Percentage change 2020/2022
India55,21231,47180,421+ -46%
Nigeria4,0915,54612,862+ -214%
Philippines6,6466,21210,782+62%
United States8,5124,4347,360-14%
Zimbabwe1,0591,7355,549+ 424%
Other nationalities²34,42526,71165,179+89%
 109,94576,109182,153+66%