Brain drain is a constant source of concern in most countries that rank lower in the development index, and countries suffering from political or religious instability. On the face of it, it is difficult to support a process that ultimately entails a country losing valuable human resource. However, some would argue that brain drain is inevitable and even necessary. In this article, we will look at both sides, and the factors that prompt this phenomenon.
What is brain drain?
First of all, we need to know what brain drain is.
In layman’s terms, brain drain is described as the phenomenon that involves migration of educated and/or talented individuals from one country to another. There are a variety of factors contributing to this process, namely, poverty, political/religious strife, poor standard of living, and lack of opportunities in the home country. This is seen mostly in lesser developed nations, as the educated and skilled workforce leave their country of origin and move to better developed areas for search of work and a better standard of life. This can even happen in the form of educational migration; youngsters leave their country of origin to a different country for better educational prospects and often settle in the area they have migrated to.
Different people, different opinions
It is not easy to lay down the benefits and drawbacks of brain drain in black and white terms. The benefits and drawbacks will vary from person to person, and will be different from different perspectives. For instance, the country that imports the skilled workforce will certainly support the process as it helps to build their economy, but the country that these people are migrating from will vehemently oppose this process as it makes them lose some very important people. On the other hand, the person who is migrating will be in favor of brain drain since it leads to personal gain, while the residents of the country where this person has moved to might feel cheated out of a possible job by an immigrant.
Positive for the expatriate:
A person leaving a country to work in another place is usually motivated by better standard of living and better pay. In less developed countries, a person usually have to spend a lot on education, which means that they must take up a job that can pay off this amount ad leave enough to lead a decent life. In most underdeveloped and developed nations, this poses a challenge with wither fewer jobs available, or with none of the jobs paying high enough to fulfill these criteria. An individual moving to a more developed country gets these requirements fulfilled. Besides, this usually translates to earning in a higher valued currency, which means a better standard of living for their family at home, if this is the case.
Mixed feelings in receiving nation
People in the developed countries that see a lot of emigrations in the form of brain drain can feel lost in these circumstances. Most immigrants are willing to work at a lower salary than any resident of the country would, and this is a great opportunity for companies to hire people who are more than or just as skilled as their indigenous workforce and pay less for the same. This means that the practice of brain drain translates to lower number of job opportunities for the natives of a country, who have to work extra hard to outperform the people who are hired from other countries. This, in severe cases, might translate to widespread unemployment for indigenous residents of a country.
Negative for the home country:
The country that experiences brain drain is faced with a great problem: lack of human resources. The more erudite and talented people move away to settle in more developed nations, the less chances for the home country of developing. Without skilled workforce and fresh ideas, the country’s infrastructure will start to collapse, or at least become stagnant with no improvement. For instance, if most civil engineers and skilled surgeons migrate from a country to a different one in search for better opportunities, the home country will fail to build new roads and buildings, and the medical sector will be in shambles. This happens in every sector. If educated people are hired by foreign companies to work in foreign soil, this will mean that no innovation will ever be made. This will lead to more people leaving, starting off a vicious cycle.
It is not easy to decide whether brain drain brings benefits or bad times; it all depends on where on the line you are standing. one thing is for sure: no one would want to leave their home country and go to a place were their reception will probably be lukewarm at best, but people are still forced to undertake this journey every day. The only way to stop this is to create opportunities and improve infrastructure and that truly lies in the hands of the administration.