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Research and Policy Issues in High-Skilled International Migration: A Perspective with Data from the United States

This article notes that while highly-skilled migration is eliciting much debate, its effects — both positive and negative — have not been well studied or measured (particularly when compared with international migration in general). Simple models of "brain drain" and "brain gain" — which dominate most policy discussions — do not fully capture the complexity of the movement of people and knowledge across borders.

Data from the United States — as the world's largest educator of foreign students — is used to provide insights into the magnitude and direction of some of the possible effects of highly-skilled migration. The author warns that economic and knowledge creation should not be the only component of policy making on immigration policy, and that freedom of movement — as a human right — should also be considered.

In conclusion, both sending an receiving countries should be concerned with the potential effects of highly-skilled migration, and much research needs to be done to better understand its impacts. While the paper does not explicitly explore policy options, it describes how the magnitude of the effects of such migration will be significantly affected by aspects of a country's immigration, education and technology policies.

 

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