Does skilled migration undermine Sustainable Development?

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Experts like Paul Collier, Professor of Economics at Oxford University, argue that skilled migration leaving low-income countries is too high: it undermines the sustainable development of the home-country, and the people left behind. Other experts like Justin Sandefur, a research fellow at the Centre for Global Development, contradict that those emigrants send money back home and influence positively their families, clans and politics. Returning to their home-country, they are equipped with better skills and attitudes to speed up the democratic process. The motivation-drain and brain-drain in developing countries need to be better quantified 1). Adequate registration of the emigrant (refugees) and interviews would provide a clearer picture of who is leaving and why, how many leave, how long they want to stay, skilled or unskilled, in search of education or job. They more people leave their country so less is the motivation to stay. Achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals would motivate they migrants (refugees) to return to their country or stay there. It needs a mechanism for the coordinated return. In the opinion of the author of this posting, we have to empathise with the situation of refugees. The asylum procedures and conditions, like waiting for asylum, no work permits, asylum on time, no adequate training and German lessons, no immediate reunification of the family is counter-productive and demotivating.


Paul Collier, How does emigration affect the people left behind in poor countries.

Justin Sandefur, Migration and development: who bears the burden of proof?

Both commentaries are in Making It, Number 19,

  1. The analytical foundation for quantifying and qualifying motivation delivers Nobel Laureate Georg Akerlof.

Roland Leithenmayr