As Covid-19 restrictions ease, a white-hot international labour market and shortage of skilled labour have triggered a global talent war, prompting countries to boost their migrant intakes and lower relocation hurdles. Countries are offering a range of incentives to woo foreign talent in areas such as engineering, IT, construction, childcare, hospitality and nursing. Recently, Australia announced that it will lift the cap on the annual intake of skilled migrants and allow some international students to stay and work in Australia for an additional two years. In Finland, a new fast-track programme allows skilled workers to have applications processed in 14 days, while Thailand has a new and renewable 10-year visa to draw professionals to industries such as electric vehicles, smart electronics and digital technology.
This global race for talent has been spurred by the distortions to national economies caused by the pandemic. As countries closed their international borders, they also poured massive stimulus spending into their economies, creating a surge in activity and demand that could not be fulfilled without the usual intakes of foreign workers. The demand for labour only increased as restrictions ended from late 2021. The international battle for skilled workers is proving a boon to young professionals and recent university graduates. For those willing to relocate, doors are opening around the world, often accompanied by hefty salaries and bonuses. Such recruits are often keenly aware of, and will compare, the changing migration rules and the incentives on offer around the world.