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
||At a macro-level, what has changed in terms
of demand for skilled personnel both in source country and in
||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?