Positive and negative impact of brain drain

Brain drain is a real concept and one that had been characterized in the last several decades by the immigration of talented people out of developing nations to that of the developed world and in most cases, the US. The concept seems to be a tad far-reaching in the sense it presupposes that the recipient nation often went out to encourage such a move but given what the US did after the aftermath of the Second world war when it rewarded Nazi German scientists with plum scientific positions and a green card – it Is hard not to see that the US has been doing the same for the last several decades. As a result of the brain drain on Germany, in the aftermath of the war, the US managed to set back Germany’s development by nearly a decade. It is time that we took a closer look at some of the positive and negative effects of such a brain drain.

Positive impact of brain drain:

  • Career opportunities: Often the host nation may lack the requisite resources to help the individual; it may not have the required facilities like higher educational institutions so that he can pursue his interests. In such a case, a brain drain is acceptable and in most cases, most the professionals who head overseas to pursue their various fields of interest often return back to their home nation to help serve the same.
  • Better pay packet: One of the motivating reasons behind the continuing exodus is the disparity between the developed world and developing world when it comes to the pay packet. Most of the nations from India to China, Malaysia often find it hard to meet the figures offered by US companies to retain key talented and skilled professionals from overseas countries. As a result, more professionals are able to take advantage of some of the current offers with large pay packets and are able to migrate overseas. These professionals often migrate to the host nation permanently.
  • Better perks: The other compelling reason for most professionals to head overseas in search of better opportunities are the insurance and medical perks and various benefits that come with each offer. These professionals are often hard-pressed to find similar opportunities which are why most of them opt to head overseas to the host country.

Negative impact of brain drain:

  • Shortage of talent and skill: as a result of the brain drain, most of the nations across the world are feeling the pinch of brain drain. As a result, they are all reeling from the current shortage of talented and skilled professionals whereas the one benefiting happens to be the host nation which in most cases, happens to be the US
  • Innovativeness and development: Due to brain drain, most of the talent has already left the nation for greener pastures and as a result, both innovative research and key development has started to lag in the countries’ most affected by this brain drain. The ones who are affected the most happen to be developing nations who are yet to get their economy off the ground. It will be a few more years before these nations can develop to the point where they can compete with other nations on an even battlefield for the little intellectual resources that remain untapped till now.
  • Economy: as a result of sustained brain drain, most of the economies of the developing world have started to get impacted on account of the same from HDI and other factors. Simply put, the lack of talent in these developing nations has started impacting many industries across several verticals and that’s why some of the key economic factors have started to lag.

Brain drain is a pervasive and inimical concept but the good news is that it may well soon be a thing of the past. With the current US administration under US tightening norms for Immigration, it has become harder for professionals to migrate to the US. As a result, the effects of brain drain as institutionalized by the US have started wearing off most of the developing nations and soon their respective economies should show improvement. While brain drain does come with a few benefits they are mostly localized to the individual whereas it is an entire nation that continues to reel from this lack of talent and skill.

Alan Behrens

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