Monday, September 16, 2013
Skilled migration is often thought to have overwhelmingly negative effects on countries of migrant origin. Yet recent research and policy experience offer a more nuanced picture. Countries of origin and destination can benefit from skilled migration when it is correctly structured. And evidence suggests that policy efforts to curb the emigration of skilled nationals may have unintended costs for origin countries, in addition to being ethically problematic.
In a new policy brief, What Do We Know About Skilled Migration and Development?, Center for Global Development Senior Fellow Michael Clemens takes on the concept of “brain drain,” finding that emigration has several overlooked benefits for countries of origin. Even if migrants do not return to their countries of origin, Clemens notes, they transfer money, skills, technology, and even democratic ideas. Furthermore, many skilled workers are actually underemployed or unemployed in their country of origin, so emigration can help alleviate labor market pressures in developing countries.
The policy brief is the third in a nine-brief series being published by the Migration Policy Institute in advance of the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, which will take place Oct. 3 – 4. The briefs distill accumulated evidence and experience on the linkages between migration and development and offer recommendations for effective policymaking.