Drain vs. Gain

People of wealthy countries often worry about migration, because they think that low-paid incomers compete for jobs as construction workers. Otherwise people of developing countries think of losing their best graduates and highly educated, because many foreign countries try to attract them.

Lots of studies found that highly educated people from developing countries are very likely to emigrate. In India, a big survey found that almost 40% of emigrants had more than a high-school education, compared with around 3.3% of all Indians over the age of 25. For a long time policymakers were uncertain how to deal with that “brain drain”. They first were only concerned about the lost opportunities.

But now they issue the positive impacts like the effect of remittances, the beneficial effects of returning migrants or the chance for people to get a higher education. Recent studies found that the benefit to their home country exists for most of them and a lot of governments now support this idea of “brain gain”.

As mentioned before, remittances play an important role and can easily be measured. According to the World Bank in 2010, about $325 billion have been remitted to the home countries, what is more than a fifth of the GDP of countries like Lebanon or Nepal.

Since many skilled migrants have been educated by their native countries, there is a discussion whether their governments should continue to subsidise their talent pools. Especially in India a lot of IT-specialists end up in America. But a research found, that the remittances of these emigrants exceed the amount of their education expenses.

Moreover migrants can also affect their home country directly. In a recent book, a professor of the University of Pennsylvania argues that Indians in Silicon Valley helped shape the regulatory structure for India’s home-grown venture-capital industry. Furthermore he argues that these people helped Indian software companies to break in the American market by vouching for their quality.

Finally migrants may return to their native land with skills they would have hardly be able to pick up at home.




2 thoughts on “Drain vs. Gain

  1. I think it is important for the transfer of knowledge skills and opportunities through people travelling to work. It is important for both economies but I also agree that migrants must prove they can support themselves before traveling.


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