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Causes and Effects of Brain Drain

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Economics
Wordcount: 3177 words Published: 28th Jul 2021

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According to a definition, ‘Brain Drain’, academically also known as the “human capital flight” is the large scale migration of highly educated, skilled and talented people of less economically advanced countries to highly rich and developed countries of the world due to conflicted issues, political instability and lack of opportunities in the developing countries.

Globally, relocation of intellectuals is as old as mankind. This terminology of Brain Drain originated in 1960, when most of the intellectuals like scientists and engineers who were the real assets or the future of any country, emigrated from United Kingdom to America.

The unsolved issue of Brain Drain is happening all over the world for the sake of better working conditions including, the island nations of the Caribbean, the anterior colonies of Africa and mostly in federal economies like the Soviet Union previous Eastern Germany, where aptitudes were not monetarily salaried. This phenomena was not as severe till 1960’s but with the huge capacity lopsidedly migrate to West Germany and North America from less developed regions.

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Substantial exoduses of skilled people were apparent at altered epochs of the economic growth of the countries of Europe and North America. However, with the progress in science and technological fields, only the intellectuals and highly qualified brains was of extraordinary mandate in highly developed countries. With the deficit in the core stream, the developed countries had to be dependent on the LDC’s. Professionals migrated from developing countries to three Developing countries (USA, Canada and United Kingdom) in 1960’s and by 1970’s, the figure had mounted. If one were to investigate statistics of all Developed Countries, the records would be alarming. This drift has continued in Africa and loss of huge qualified manpower is happen immigrations to Europe and North America annually. The questions that is arise in the social, political, economic, academic and probably in every sector of developing world. According to question the phenomena happened there are countless questions, but I want to explain the main attractions towards the developed world and why do talented and outstanding brains leave their countries? What are the costs of such migrations paid by developing countries? What policies can be implemented to stem such movements from LDCs to DCs?

The goal of this paper is to highlight the unsolved, conflicted issue of Brain Drain and the Scientific Diaspora and the cause and effect relationship in the global knowledge based societies and also to address the cancerous disease directing the developing countries to failure. I will highlight some major questions, giving some suggestions which help to make policies to fade the disparities and the exploitation of skilled and semi-skilled labour in the developed world who themselves benefited to create the legislative crime of Brain drain and to hijack the rights of Cos in the shape of Scientific diaspora communities.

How and when Brain Drain happens and intensifies

Since the beginning of 1960s, the phenomena of brain drain became a highlighted and critical issue. With the neo-liberal economy and the tsunami wave of globalization has given a golden chance to the opportunists and played a vital role towards better and quality life including all accessories in every sphere of life. Globalization has opened a window for the human capital to agglomerate and mobilize where the brain extract and yet best recognized and rewarded in the highly economically strong and advanced countries.

To oppose the nation-state ideology by the global village, selective immigration policies in several OECD countries has gradually introduced, strengthened and became a selection centers to sort out the best minds to develop the innovative way of thoughts and utilization for the betterment of developed world, i.e. very alarming for LDCs. as human capital of a nation being the assets planned to be theft through legislative terms and conditions. The cost being paid by the LDCs left back in the race of progress and development.

Aftermath of colonialism, such types of drains has happened between the LDC’s and DC’s. Australia and Canada in 1980’s has emerged the international competition in all over the world to attract the highly skilled, and educated brains to catalyze the attraction and boost the greed of inferiority complex of developing areas to realize the complex of have not and to advertise the opportunities secured, healthy and peaceful societies like heaven at earth.

The age of discovery, progress and the indicators of globalization, increased rate of import and export in the neo-liberal economy has multiplied during the last three decades. The result of the huge migration, rates to be much higher for great intellectuals. United Nation has supervised and produced countless research to find out the total capacity of brain drain in every region of the world including Sub Saharan countries, New Zealand, even the extraction from the semi-peripheral countries to the peripheral countries.

Scientific Diaspora has been represented by the highly intellectual’s enormous potential like the IT professionals, Engineers, Physicians Scientists, and the human capital flight of new post graduate students. Unfortunately the CO’s (country of origin) has been losing the patriotic , ethical , moral emotions because they are suffering with the pragmatic materialist thought and the lust of opportunities darken the future of developing world.

To fulfil the interest of economically advanced countries and global knowledge based societies are struggling for the human capital. It is as natural as the nature of human being and as powerful as constructed politically to keep the self-interest. There is a lack of policy making in the academic world and on the governmental level in the developing world. Some main types of Brain drain are Brain Gain, Brain circulation, Brain waste etc.

Causes of Increased Brain Drain in developing countries

There are many factors which cause brain drain from the less developing countries to the highly developed countries. The regional, national and global flow of migrates are increasing every second. There are two main factors due to which people move from one place to another place. There are some major routes of human migration before 1950’s but highlighted in 60’s. The reasons can be different region to region; i.e. satisfactory facilities of goods and services, the reconnection of diverse cultural groups, in the time of conflict and war, political instability, health risks and the lack of opportunities. The mobility of intellectuals and skilled personnel or emigrants from the country of origin referred to as the PUSH FACTORS of their capital flight. And there are many parallel and inverse reasons for the immigrants called PULL FACTORS to attract towards host countries.

Theoretical framework

Brain drain is studied under the theoretical frame of migration theories under the two main factors as discussed below:

Push factors:

There are certain push factors causing brain drain, to leave the less developed country to developed countries as listed below:

  • Substandard living conditions, dearth of conveyance, accommodation
  • Under-utilization of skilled and semi- skilled personnel; lack of adequate working conditions; low panorama of specialized development
  • Low and corroding wages
  • Discrimination in recruitments and promotions
  • Social unrest, Political instability, conflicts and wars
  • Lack of research facilities, including support staff; meagreness of research funds, lack of professional apparatus and tools
  • Lack of freedom and autonomy
  • Deteriorating excellence of educational system,

Why Academic intellectuals leave their Country of Origin:

  • Challenging socio-economic conditions (poverty, unemployment, epidemics diseases, increased rate of crime, corruption, etc.)
  • Poor libraries, ICT & apparatus for research
  • Lack of autonomy academic freedom to create literature at universities
  • Political instability and harassment, human rights manipulations, wars
  • Lack of pure democracy
  • Deprived payments for intellectuals and skilled personnel
  • Lack of self-determination and social equivalence
  • Lack of quality education for children
  • Lack of career opportunities
  • Lack of entrepreneurial investments

Why Students go abroad:

  • Poor worth of national education from the Montessori level to post graduation level
  • Unavailability of scholarships or financial assistance for the brilliant
  • Miserable infrastructure of schools, colleges and universities
  • Limited opportunities for higher studies students
  • As a decided step towards emigration, they suffered with inferiority complex, due to all the above reasons and many more pushing factors resulted to leave their point of origin.

Why Students Do Not Return:

  • Limited employment opportunities restrict to come back in the homeland
  • especially at PhD level, Course or research work not relevant to home country’s state of affairs
  • convenience of grants for further exploration
  • living conditions, insufficient earning and job satisfaction in developed world
  • Need to send money home and support the family
  • Getting married to a host country’s citizen to get the citizenship
  • Although, they suffered with many crisis as alienated in the host country including the identity crisis, diaspora and make up their own imagined communities to prevent themselves with the socio-political and religious disparities.

Pull Factors

Similarly, numerous attractive pull factors at the destination states permitting the brain drain to occur at a higher leap:

  • Sophisticated standard of living
  • Employment opportunity
  • greater income and Higher wages
  • Extensive resources for research, unconventional and advanced technology, modern facilities of laboratory equipment; availability of experienced support workforce
  • Healthier working conditions; employment and occupation opportunities with the proficient development
  • Modern educational schemes; prestige of ‘foreign training’
  • Political stability & foreigner secured policies
  • Meritocracy, transparency
  • Scholarly &Intellectual autonomy
  • Appreciation & rewards on governmental level

Effects of Brain Drain in Developing Countries

Aftermaths of Brain Drain in Exaggerated Regions of the globalized world:

Negative effects:

The phenomena of brain drain has left harmful effects in the region of poor countries like Africa, because of their great hope, talents and skills have immigrated to the richer countries. As seen pragmatically, develop and rich countries become richer and more developed and poor and developing countries become poorest and failure states. Consequently, some of the outcomes have produced the poorer rates of growth and development, highly unstable politically some are in the condition of cold war like Pakistan,fewer productive educational funds, and worse health care system and Loss of potential modernizers who might have paved the way to rejuvenation and up gradation through their advanced and creative abilities.

  • Doctors, Engineers, scientists & students leave for the industrialized world
  • Africa loses the best brains it needs for its trade and industrial development
  • African recruitment of thousands of expatriates from the industrialized West at a cost of billions every year
  • increased deterioration of higher schooling
  • Universities have to be close, extension of higher education not possible
  • Poor people seriously affected by the epidemic, infectious diseases
  • Universities unable to run and achieving Development Goals
  • In the global knowledge economy, Africa becoming sidelined
  • Due to the pitiable environment, Lack of skilled people.
  • Crumbling poor & middle classes
  • Political instability & religious persecution
  • Corruption of income tax equal to less basic goods and services
  • Economic instability leads to increased rate of unemployment and inflation
  • Lack of industrial growth & innovation.

Positive Effects

The brain drain may cause numerous positive effects for source countries. It is well documented that remittances of employees’ played a significant support to GNP of a country and are a viable spring of income in several developing countries. Remittances and transmittals intrude on family decisions in terms of professional choice, labor supply, education, investment migration, and fertility, with hypothetically essential aggregated special effects. Especially in the case of poor countries, where market inadequacies available to members of low-income classes reduce the set of possibilities.

  • Brain Circulation equalizes Brain Drain
  • Transnational corporation and increase in Foreign Direct Investment
  • When possibility of migration is real. level of education in sending countries rises
  • Amalgamation in global economies

Incentives, law and policy making

“The irony of international migration today is that many of the people who migrate legally from poor to richer lands are the very ones that Third World countries can least afford to lose: the highly educated and skilled. Since the great majority of these migrants move on a permanent basis, this perverse brain drain not only represents a loss of valuable human resources but could prove to be a serious constraint on the future economic progress of Third World nations” (Todaro, 7th Edition, 2001).

Convention signed by the organization of economic corporation and development (OECD) among twenty countries in 1960’s create a keen competition among all member countries to fascinate human possessions, they lack and to preserve those who might emigrate. Various countries edited their legislation and step forward for numerous amendments to legalize the foreigner qualified brains and somehow to cheap their labour in the developed world. The policy or the legislation to work allowed but not giving them the full work visas compelling to do illegal work on cheap labour benefited the state capital and a legal system of exploitation is running to pressurize the foreign labour to do work illegally for their survival in the most metropolitan areas of the world Most countries announced more flexibility in labour migration policies, while some propelled the definite recruitment packages to meet labour dearth.

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In France, UK, Denmark and some other countries, labour visas criteria has been tranquil including skilled, qualified people in the profession of bio-medicine, education and health care type of main occupations. Various types of labour visas and quota in different countries of the developed world are much confine with the immigration policies for the highly qualified and skilled like Scholarships, grants, loans etc. in the last decade, brain drain of human capital has increased forty percent in Japan and more than ten percent in Korea. New Zealand, Canada and Australia are the main flexible host countries laws making, and legislative attraction and relaxation to get the more and more brain gain, drain and circulation from the developing countries. The drastic ratio of emigration has been increased in every figure of peripheral countries under the legislative authority.


Recommendations for the developing countries:

How the future of developing countries can be preserved and what should be the recommendation?

  1. Establish recorded database of skilled, intellectual, students and specialists on the time of departure from LDC’s.
  2. Reformation of the national education system and the infrastructure of schools, colleges and universities.
  3. High budget allocated for the higher education and use of funds purely for the education projects.
  4. Sufficient facilities for research projects in universities and establish the research cells.
  5. Encourage the distant learning and education for all.
  6. Pure democracy, encourage human rights and enforce the legislation, strictly keep an eye on the law and order situation to stable and regulate the factors like corruption, crime etc.
  7. On governmental level, the allocation of budgets to the science and technology organizations and from the health sector to control the infectious diseases.
  8. Introduce new policies and laws to reduce the conflict and war at the national and international level.
  9. Role of government should be the key role to avoid the issue of human capital flight.
  10. Government should spend heavy fund for the infrastructure, avoid load shedding like issues and provide the demanded power supply and drinking water and the efficient communication.
  11. Facilitate the education system through training, research, and education
  12. Government should advertised job opportunities on merit & provide specific allowance and salary for the scientists, engineers, doctors and highly intellectuals
  13. State should reduce the rooted conflict to maintain peace
  14. Democratic governance is the best solution for the cancerous problem of brain drain.
  15. Engage the LDC’s best organizations with DC’s and encourage the collective training and work with DC’s as partners
  16. If west needs some research they should request on the governmental level for research
  17. How western countries can help to reduce brain drain?
  18. Ensure through incentives and immigration policies, intellectual return back to their resource countries discourage labor recruitment through academics and qualified personals
  19. Discourage full time attendance for the foreigner graduate students
  20. Consideration of joint degrees with developing world universities
  21. Encourage riven PHD’s instead of 100% attendance
  22. Support university association to progress LDC’s (curriculum, quality and methodology of research)
  23. Collaboration through appropriate university association for e.g. (HEC, AAU, ACU, AUF IAN)


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