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Britain leaving the EU could lead to a bonanza of skilled workers for Ireland

But a so-called Brexit is still widely predicted to be a major economic risk for the Republic.

IRELAND COULD ENJOY a sudden boost in interest as a destination for skilled staff if the UK tightened its immigration policies after backing out of the EU.

Jobs site Indeed today published research which showed the UK was currently the country in the European bloc with the greatest net interest from those seeking work.

But it predicted that was likely to change in the event of a so-called Brexit should the ‘leave’ side gets its way in an in-out EU referendum in just over five weeks.

Mariano Mamertino, an economist with Indeed’s internal research section, said Ireland’s attractiveness as a destination for “talented workers looking for high-quality roles” was likely to increase in the case of a Brexit.

“Sectors like technology, pharmaceuticals and financial services would benefit from a larger pool of available candidates for whom a UK outside the European Union might be less accessible or less attractive,” he said.

“Of course there is the important caveat that the improved talent pool may not offset the wider economic risks that Brexit poses to the Irish economy given the extensive trading relationship between the two countries.”

The UK presently receives three times as much interest from EU job seekers as the next-most popular destinations in the region, France and Germany, Indeed said.

“Any policies implemented by the British government aimed at making it more difficult for foreign workers to work in the UK are likely to have negative consequences for companies that have grown accustomed to relying on international sources of talent to fill their open roles,” Mamertino added.

EU referendum Former London mayor Boris Johnson Ben Birchall / PA Wire Ben Birchall / PA Wire / PA Wire

Financial services fight

UK chancellor George Osborne recently warned that “tens of thousands” of jobs in the country’s key financial services industry could be lost if people voted to exit the common market.

The majority of those in the Irish business community and political circles have been pushing for Britain to stay in the EU.

However Bloomberg reported that the IDA has already been pitching to UK and international banks about the possibility of shifting staff to the Republic, which would be left the only native English-speaking country in the union in the event of a Brexit.

Meanwhile, a recent jobs market survey from state agency Solas noted there were already significant vacancies in the Irish scientific and technology, IT and financial sectors, despite the country’s still-high unemployment rate.

Those figures suggest a relative shortage of qualified workers with employers finding it hard to fill advertised positions.

According to Indeed, the UK currently had the best ‘net interest score’ in the EU from jobseekers – meaning it had the highest ratio of people outside the country looking for opportunities there for work when compared to those already in the UK searching for a job elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 16.01.08 Indeed Indeed

Click here for a larger version

Ireland placed seventh on the list of 15 member states, however its rating was negative, suggesting more people were looking for a way out than those seeking a job in the country.

Overall, a Brexit has been predicted to have broadly negative impacts for Ireland – particularly for the country’s SME and agri-business sectors, which are the most dependent on UK trade and the worst equipped to deal with any regulatory changes.

The ESRI predicted that, in a worst-case scenario, trade between Ireland and the UK would drop 20% if the Republic’s near-neighbour dumped the union. The UK narrowly trails the US as Ireland’s biggest single destination for exports.

Written by Peter Bodkin and posted on, a new business publication for Irish startups and SMEs.

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