Skills, Migration and Development

Author : Chris Sims | 2009
Published By: Centre for Skills Development

The migration of skilled people from developing to developed countries can have significant implications for the development trajectory of sending countries. For many years analysis of the phenomenon focused on the so-called ‘brain drain’ effect that was seen to rob developing countries of skills. Later approaches have focused on the role of migration in spreading knowledge, boosting incomes and incentivising the acquisition of skills. This paper proposes that the precise impact of skilled migration from a particular country can only be understood by placing it in the specific context of that country’s development, particularly patterns of internal migration and unskilled migration. It argues that skilled migration can boost development if properly managed, and that developed countries can mitigate the potential harmful effects of skilled migration by investing in skills development in sending countries and assisting developing countries in matching their educational systems to domestic and international labour markets. Finally, it proposes that the existing lack of data in this field, the different definitions and measurements used by individual countries, and the confusing network of bilateral migration relationships argue for a more multilateral approach to migration management than exists today.

URL : http://www.skillsdevelopment.org/PDF/Working%20Paper%20No%203%20-%20Skilled%20Migration%20CS.pdf

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