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Global Mobility Trends: Powerful insights for skilled migrants in 2024

Countries vie for talent that can drive innovation and economic prosperity

Given that the world is now more interconnected than ever before, the movement of skilled labor across borders is not just a symbol of economic integration but also a critical driver for innovation and growth in many industries. Deel's latest global mobility trends report for March 2024 captures these patterns and preferences among global skilled workers. The findings bring out the point that a demand for skilled workers, particularly in technology and related industries, has increased through the years.

Countries vie for talent that can drive innovation and economic prosperity. Spain, Great Britain and Canada are leading the charge in attracting these professionals, leveraging their unique advantages such as favorable climates, robust startup ecosystems, and competitive salaries. However, the migration landscape is not without its challenges. Stringent visa requirements, economic uncertainties, and evolving immigration policies are significant factors that skilled migrants must navigate.

NB: The report by Deel on the trends of global mobility in 2024 investigates, first and foremost, those areas in which the company perceives potential for profit: visa preferences and migration patterns for skilled workers. Please notice that this report doesn't cover Digital Nomad visa options, passive sources of income, golden passports, and all other appealing relocation methods. It's important for you to understand that it may not cover all aspects of global mobility that could be of interest to you. For a broader view on various ways to move internationally, you might want to read our blog at migrun.tech.

Key Global Trends Shaping the Future of Skilled Migration

These trends are reshaping the workforce landscape, as countries compete to attract top talent by offering favorable economic conditions and innovative environments.

Increased Mobility

The percentage of expatriates among newly added, full-time employees on Deel's platform rose to 27% in 2023, up from 25% in 2022. This indicates a growing willingness and capability of skilled workers to relocate internationally for better opportunities.

Top Destinations

Spain, Great Britain, and Canada emerged as top destinations for skilled migrants, reflecting their strong economic performance and attractive living conditions. These countries have become hubs for innovation, particularly in software development and other tech-related fields.

Countries of Origin

India, the United States, and Great Britain are the primary sources of skilled migrants. These countries have large pools of highly educated and experienced professionals who seek better opportunities abroad due to various factors, including higher salaries, better quality of life, and more favorable immigration policies in destination countries.

Visa Preferences

The United States remains a highly coveted destination despite its complex immigration process, with visas like the O-1 and EB-1A being particularly popular among top-tier talent. Other countries, such as the UAE and the Netherlands, offer attractive visa options that cater to highly skilled professionals.

Policy Changes

Recent changes in immigration policies in key destinations like Canada and the United States highlight the dynamic nature of global mobility. These changes often aim to balance the influx of skilled migrants with domestic economic needs and political considerations.

Who's hiring skilled migrants

In 2023 Spain, Great Britain, and Canada emerged as the top employers of expatriates. In Europe, roles in software, product management, and sales are highly sought after. Spain attracts workers primarily from within the European Union (EU) due to its cultural richness and favorable climate. In Canada, technical roles dominate, with skilled migrants coming from India, Ukraine, China, and France. Software engineers in Canada can earn up to $197,000 annually, while product designers can earn up to $191,000. Of course, one should not forget about local peculiarities, position in geography and lack of language barriers. All this also affects the distribution of migrants across countries.

Top skilled migrant employer countries by total worker count

Source: Deel tech migration report 

Choosing Your Destination: Look Beyond the Numbers to Real Opportunities

If you are a skilled professional planning an international move, it is essential to choose a country where your skills are in demand. Here is a simple guideline to tailor your choice:

  • For Cultural and Lifestyle Compatibility: Consider the country of Spain if you have a flare for life, love warm weather, and a robust cultural environment. This country is beautiful to people who are citizens of the European Union because the amount of paperwork involved is little, and it can offer a similar cultural environment.
  • For Tech and Startup Careers: Great Britain or Canada, if you want to be part of world-class startup ecosystems or find the highest financial return. These two countries have solid economic relations and very well-paying prospects for tech-based careers.
Why This Is Key for You 

Choosing the correct country is not just about who is hiring but also about how much the local economic context resembles yours and whether enough jobs are going in your line of work. Before you decide, consider the details of visa requirements and how taxes work to consider how it may affect your professional journey and personal life. Such an approach guarantees that your move will be successful and well-informed.

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Where are skilled migrants coming from

India, the United States, and Great Britain lead as the top countries of origin for skilled migrants in 2023. Canada is a favored destination for Indian professionals due to high salaries, relatively friendly immigration policies, and established expat communities. Large pools of Indian expats in Canada make reunification with networks commonplace. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers more flexible immigration options and proximity to India. The United States remains a top destination for skilled migrants, especially in technology sectors, despite its challenging immigration barriers.

Key Numbers
  • 68% of India's population is of working age, making it the largest working-age population globally.
  • Indian expats are primarily moving to Canada, the UAE, Great Britain, Germany, and the United States.
  • The top job groups for Indian migrants include software development, data, and product roles.

Source: Deel tech migration report 

Strategize Your Move: Tap Migrant Networks to Ease Your Transition

If you're planning a move out from a developing country, some lessons from Indian expatriates' experience would be very helpful. Here is what you can do:

  • Reach out to Expat Communities: Be it Canada, the UAE, Great Britain, Germany, or the United States—each of these countries is home to thriving expat communities. Websites like expat.com, InterNations, Meetup and LinkedIn Groups in your field can be beneficial in getting first contacts and receiving support on arrival.
  • Get Involved with Professional Networks: Become a member of professional organizations relevant to your career line to get access to job postings, industry information, and mentors. It can make a massive difference in the ease of your professional journey and your integration into the local labor market.
Why This Is Key for You 

Plunging into long-established migrant communities does not only smooth your transition but also increases your chances of success in the new country. They will assist with how to deal with local bureaucracies, find accommodation, and grasp cultural subtleties. Far from home, these communities offer some sense of community and come a long way in reducing the isolation often felt after moving. Active engagement in these networks can make all the difference in your personal and professional life in the new host country.

Visa requests

In 2023, the United States was the most sought-after destination for visa applications among highly skilled workers. The most popular visas include the O-1 for individuals with extraordinary abilities and the EB-1A for exceptional talents. The UAE’s Golden Visa, which offers ten-year residency and favorable tax treatment, is also highly desired. Other notable visas include the Highly Skilled Migrant visa for the Netherlands and the EU Blue Card for Germany and France.

Key Numbers
  • US visa requests in 2023 increased by 263% compared to the previous year.
  • EB-1A visa requests jumped by 82%, indicating a shift from the traditionally popular H1-B visas.
Research Your Options: Tailored Advice and Planning

Upon careful consideration of your migration choices, the fine details of different visas should be brought into daylight. In case you are very highly skilled or possess a graduate level of visa, determine your options related to visas that can get you premium opportunities and work conditions. Here are some customized recommendations for your migration journey:

  • For the Aspiring Innovators: If you have a record of extraordinary achievements, consider the O-1 visa in the US or the Golden Visa in the UAE. These visas are designed for individuals like you, offering substantial benefits and recognition.
  • For Established Professionals Seeking Stability: If stability and long-term residency are your priorities, the Netherlands' Highly Skilled Migrant visa or Canada's Global Talent Stream could be your ticket to a rewarding career abroad.
  • For Those in Cutting-Edge Fields: If you're in tech, science, or other rapidly evolving industries, look at Germany or France's EU Blue Card. These countries are keen on attracting top-tier talent and offer a conducive environment for career advancement.
Why This Is Key for You 

Having a general understanding of immigration programs and associated visa requirements can help you plot your migration path more effectively. Obtain all necessary documents and take advice from professionals to increase your chances of being granted the desired visa. This strategic approach assures not only the choice of a country to migrate to but also secures the future with an alignment of present career goals and aspirations.

Key changes in immigration policies

Canada and the United States introduced several significant changes to their immigration policies in 2023. Canada raised the financial requirement for study permits to $20,635, plans to limit student visas by 30% in 2024, and discontinued the 18-month work permit extension for post-graduation. The United States increased fees for various visas, including the O-1 and L-1 visas, and implemented a new "beneficiary-centric" lottery selection process for H-1B visas, limiting applicants to one selection per passport number.

Key Numbers
  • In Canada, the minimum required available funds for study permits increased to $20,635.
  • US visa fees for O-1 visas increased to $530 for companies with fewer than 25 employees and to $1,050 for larger companies.
  • Fees for L-1 visas increased to $1,195 for smaller companies and $1,885 for larger companies.
Optimize Your Immigration Strategy: Insights and Actions

Understanding the latest shifts in immigration policies is crucial for anyone planning to move to Canada or the United States. These changes not only influence your application process but also affect your financial planning and strategic decisions regarding your relocation.

  • For Prospective Students: Adjust your financial plans for Canada’s increased study permit requirements and upcoming student visa limitations.
  • For Skilled Workers Targeting the U.S.: Prepare for increased fees for O-1 and L-1 visas and the new H-1B lottery process, allowing only one application per passport.
Why This Is Key for You 

Staying informed about legislative changes is vital for effective immigration planning. It allows you to adapt your strategies and ensures you meet all new requirements. Regularly visit official immigration websites and engage with immigration experts to keep abreast of these changes and understand their implications for your plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the top destinations for skilled migrants in 2024?
    Spain, Great Britain, and Canada are the top destinations, offering strong economic performance, innovation hubs, and attractive living conditions.
  • Which countries are the primary sources of skilled migrants?
    India, the United States, and Great Britain lead as the top countries of origin for skilled migrants.
  • What are the popular visas for skilled migrants?
    Popular visas include the O-1 and EB-1A for the United States, the Golden Visa for the UAE, the Highly Skilled Migrant visa for the Netherlands, and the EU Blue Card for Germany and France.
  • What are the recent changes in Canada's immigration policies?
    Canada raised the financial requirement for study permits, plans to limit student visas by 30% in 2024, and discontinued the 18-month work permit extension for post-graduation.
  • How can skilled migrants improve their chances of securing a visa?
    Skilled migrants should explore different visa options, understand their requirements, prepare necessary documents, and seek professional advice.
  • Why is it important to join expat communities and professional networks?
    Joining expat communities and professional networks provides valuable support, resources, and smoother adaptation to a new country.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The findings from the Deel report on global mobility trends highlight significant opportunities and challenges for skilled migrants. By understanding the key trends, popular destinations, visa preferences, and policy changes, migrants from developing countries can better navigate the complex landscape of international employment and immigration. Preparing in advance, leveraging professional networks, and staying informed about policy changes are crucial steps for a successful migration journey.

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