Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel

of emigration.14 As the R&D enterprise becomes more global, some observers propose that “brain drain” be recast as “brain circulation”15 and include the broader topics of the international circulation of thinkers, knowledge workers, and rights to knowledge.16 Such a discussion would include issues of local resources; many countries lack the educational and technical infrastructure to support advanced education, so aspiring scientists and engineers have little choice but to seek at least part of their training abroad, and in many instances such travel is encouraged by governments. Supporting the concept of brain circulation is the finding that ethnic networks developed in the United States by international students and scholars help to support knowledge transfer and economic development in both the United States and the sending country.17

In other countries, migration for employment, particularly for highly skilled workers, remains a core concern.18 European Union (EU) countries, especially those with developed S&E capacity, have implemented strategies to facilitate retention and immigration of the technically skilled. Several Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have relaxed their immigration laws to attract high-skilled students and workers.19 Some are increasing growth in their international student populations and are encouraging these students to apply for resident status.

Point-based immigration systems for high-skilled workers, while not widespread, are starting to develop.20 Canada, Australia, and New Zealand use


D. Kapur and J. McHale. Sojourns and Software: Internationally Mobile Human Capital and High-Tech Industry Development in India, Ireland, and Israel. In A. Arora and A. Gambardella, eds. From Underdogs to Tigers: The Rise and Growth of the Software Industry in Israel, Ireland and India. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2005.


Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development. International Mobility of the Highly Skilled. Policy Brief 92 2002 01 1P4. Washington, DC: OECD, 2002. Available at:


B. Jewsiewicki. The Brain Drain in an Era of Liberalism. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Bureau for International Education, 2003.


W. Kerr. “Ethnic Scientific Communities and International Technology Diffusion.” Working Paper. 2004. Available at:


OECD members countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Ko-rea, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


K. Tremblay. “Links Between Academic Mobility and Immigration.” Symposium on International Labour and Academic Mobility: Emerging Trends and Implications for Public Policy, Toronto, October 22, 2004.


Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development. Trends in International Migration: 2004 Annual Report. Paris: OECD, 2005. See for more information on immigration policies in English-speaking countries and the European Union.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement