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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Brain Strain: Optimising highly-skilled labour from developing countries. Working paper 3 of the 'asylum and migration' series

It is clear from the evidence presented in this paper and elsewhere that the developed world can no longer simply plunder the human resources of the developing world. But it is also clear it neither can nor should close the doors to migrants. By stressing the need to optimise flows, rather than minimise or maximise them, this paper offers a way out of these dilemmas.

The British Royal Society is thought to have coined the phrase 'brain drain' in the 1950s to describe the flow of scientists from Europe to North America. Since that time, the term has been widely used to refer to the ever-increasing flows of highly skilled migrants from the developing world to the developed world.

It is clear from the evidence presented in this paper and elsewhere that the developed world can no longer simply plunder the human resources of the developing world. But it is also clear it neither can nor should close the doors to migrants. By stressing the need to optimise flows, rather than minimise or maximise them, this paper offers a way out of these dilemmas.

View the other papers in the series here. All are available free of charge.