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Types of Migration
Internal Migration
Global Labour Mobility
Child Migration
Skilled Migration
Forced Migration
Return Migration

Key Themes
Modelling Causes
and Consequences
Links between Migrations
Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
Social Protection
Gender and Generations
Health and Education

UK / international
Albania / Eastern Europe
Ghana / Africa
Egypt / the Middle East
Bangladesh and
South Asia




Project 7a
International Comparisons of Mobility of the Highly Skilled

Although the movement of educated and skilled people is not new, it has taken on much greater importance in recent years, as developed countries have shifted towards a much more skills-based emphasis in their immigration policies, and the countries of origin of these skilled people are increasingly found in the developing world. Increasingly proactive immigration policies of the developed world in recruiting skilled professionals may have a significant impact on the skill levels of labour forces in developing countries and, ultimately, on their capacity to improve the quality of life of their citizens. However, although there has been much recent concern about ‘brain drain’, there are some who argue that the movement of the skilled is an integral part of globalization and that the free flow of labour is ultimately beneficial to both origin and destination countries.

This project aims to explore the causes and consequences of the movement of the highly skilled, through analysis of data on such mobility across a range of countries. Special tabulations from the 1990/91 and 2000/01 round of censuses for the US, UK, Australia and Canada will be sought in order to give information on migrants by skill category, year of arrival, and the basic demographic characteristics of age and sex, focusing on movement from Ghana, Bangladesh, Albania and Egypt, as well as China, Nigeria, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Somalia. Immigration records to the principal destination countries will also be examined, with particular attention being paid to those entering under temporary entry categories. Available data in the selected countries of origin will also be identified and analysed.

Key Research Questions

What is the extent of migration of the highly-skilled? Is this a growing or declining phenomenon? Which sectors are most affected?
At a macro-level, what has changed in terms of demand for skilled personnel both in source country and in potential destinations?
Are some countries more affected by highly-skilled migration than others? Are poorer countries more affected? Are smaller countries more affected?
What are the policy options available?



Key Theme(s)
Health and Education

Type(s) of Migration
Skilled Migration

UK and International


Ron Skeldon

Ron Skeldon (Sussex)
Russell King (Sussex)
Meera Warrier (Sussex)

Key Activities


Analysis of censuses, immigration records, and other available data.

2. Interviews with key informants in selected source and destination countries.
3. Analysis of fieldwork findings.

Key Outputs

Working papers
Contributions to workshops on professional mobility in Dhaka and Accra
Policy briefing

Articles for the international media


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With thanks to IOM and Claudia Natali for the photographs