India escapes worst of brain drain
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India escapes worst of brain drain

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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WASHINGTON: Despite the hullabaloo in the 1990s about brain drain from India, it may have escaped the deleterious effect of talent flight compared to other small poor third world countries in Africa, South America and the Caribbean, a World Bank study has said, a paper reported.

In an extensive survey of data from 30 OECD countries such as the U.S., U.K, Canada and Australia (rich nations under the head Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), the study estimates that 25 percent to 50 percent of college educated citizens of poor countries like Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda and El Salvador lived abroad in an OECD country. This goes up to more than 80 percent for Haiti and Jamaica, the Economic Times said.

In contrast, large developing countries such as India have lost less than 5 percent of their skilled citizens to OECD. Moreover, the recent return traffic is bringing back intellectual and financial resources to these countries.


The World Bank study, titled 'International Migration, Remittances and the Brain Drain,' warns however "given the apparent demographic problems and aging populations (in OECD countries), the intensity of brain drain could continue to increase over the next decades."

The labor forces in many developed countries are expected to peak around 2010, and decline by around 5 percent in the following two decades. Conversely, the labor forces in many developing countries are expanding rapidly. "This imbalance is likely to create strong demand for workers in developed countries' labor markets, especially for numerous service sectors that can only be supplied locally," the paper said quoting the World Bank study.

According to UN figures cited in the study, migration to developed countries represented 53 percent of international migration in 1990 and 60 percent in 2000.

Highly skilled migration is even more concentrated, 90 percent of them living in one of 30 OECD countries. About half of them are in the U.S. (the biggest recipient of high-skilled migration), 13.4 percent in Canada, 7.5 percent in Australia, 6.2 percent in the United Kingdom, 4.9 percent in Germany and 3 percent in France.

According to the study, the number of working age population born in one country and living in another increased from 42 million in 1990 to 59 million in 2000. Highly skilled workers represented around 35 percent of OECD immigration stock.

In fact, with increasing education levels in the developing countries, low-skilled migration to OECD countries has decreased from 45 percent in 1990 to 36.5 percent in 2000 with a consequent increase in high-skilled migration.

The study also notes that many OECD countries such as Canada and Australia have increasingly tailored their immigration policies to attract highly skilled workers to bolster their competitiveness and to fill gaps in domestic skills, the paper said.


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