Apparently this trend is accelerating.
Britain is experiencing the worst "brain drain" of any country as highly qualified professionals settle abroad, an authoritative international study showed yesterday. Record numbers of Britons are leaving - many of them doctors, teachers and engineers - in the biggest exodus for almost 50 years.
There are now 3.247 million British-born people living abroad, of whom more than 1.1 million are highly-skilled university graduates, say the researchers. More than three quarters of these professionals have settled abroad for more than 10 years, according to the study by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
No other nation is losing so many qualified people, it points out. Britain has now lost more than one in 10 of its most skilled citizens, while overall only Mexico has had more people emigrate. Britain's exodus is far higher than any of the OECD's other 29 members. Germany has lost only 860,000 highly-skilled workers, America 410,000 and France 370,000. The OECD found that 27.3 per cent of those emigrating had health or education qualifications, 37.7 per cent had humanities or social science degrees and 28.5 per cent were scientists or engineers.
That's an awful lot of techies to lose, given the number of non-degrees we're now turning out.
But there's an upside, according to the IPPRs resident immigration promoter, Danny Sriskandarajah.
"Britain has been lucky - although it has lost substantial numbers of people, it has attracted more than a million skilled immigrants to replace them"
What could be causing such numbers to leave the paradise that is Nu Britain ?
Prof David Coleman, of St John's, Oxford, said the brain drain was "to do with quality of life, laws and bureaucracy, tax and all the rest of it".
Apparently the elephant in the drawing room comes under the heading of 'quality of life'. Do I get a hint of 'to escape the frantic lifestyle' ?
Fortunately the Telegraph asked their readers to put them right. As well as complaints about immigration and crime, one other factor arises.
I'm always on at my kids to work hard at school so that they can leave the country if it all goes pearshaped - but there's another reason. Being poor in this country is now much more dangerous than it was - because of where you have to live.
Up to twenty or so years ago, being poor simply meant that you had less money than other people. You could still live in a nice area - you just had a small house. When I left the inner city I found a two-bedroomed cottage in the sticks for £10,000. My wages were £3,000 - and that was a poor wage even in 1980. So I had no money for holidays or luxuries, rode a CB125 to work each day, but lived in a pleasant village.
My old house - now sporting an extra bedroom and bathroom - recently went for over £200,000. Being poor in modern Britain increasingly means having to live where the most unpleasant people live.
"Despite earning close to 100k per annumn, this was a sum that just about qualified me for a small two bedroom home in a dangerous area. As someone who would like to start a family and works hard, I found this unacceptable. The alternatives in North America and many other parts of the EU made the decision to leave a non-brainer."
"There is actually very little pulling us to New Zealand but huge amounts pushing us there; the main one being that we cannot afford to buy a house anywhere in a decent area of London. And with the (in)justice system so completely unfit for purpose there is no way in Hades that we will risk the lives of our children by living in a bad area."
You're surprised there are any teachers left. London teachers must be a masochistic bunch.
"I have been teaching abroad for nine years. I trained in the Uk and worked in Hounslow for two years. I could not afford to pay my rent some months because of the low wages. Add to that the unruly students! I doubled my wages when I first moved abroad and got to teach students who wanted to learn."
"I am a qualified teacher working overseas where I teach beautifully turned out, polite, fun students with supportive parents and a thirst for knowledge. Compare that with the UK where, at my last job interview, I was asked in all seriousness what I would do if a student pulled a gun on me"