During periods of political or social unrest, skilled workers in developing countries may find few opportunities to productively employ their training. Many of these specialized workers migrate for jobs overseas that pay better and enable them to become more productive workers in an advanced economy. The departure of skilled workers can strip developing countries of talent, but it can also provide benefits through remittances, return migration, the creation of trade and business networks and incentives for human capital formation at home. As globalization accelerates, it becomes important to assess the costs and benefits of skilled migration, and to evaluate new proposals for international regimes that share the gains from this global movement. How, for example, should skilled immigrants’ earnings be taxed? Should some of the fiscal proceeds be returned to their home countries?
With partial support from the Foundation, Jagdish Bhagwati will convene a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations in March 2005 entitled “Skilled Migration Today: Prospects, Problems, and Policies” to examine this topic. The two-day conference will be comprised of four panel sessions on the following topics: 1) labor market trends and policy changes; 2) effects of skilled migration on source countries; 3) taxation and skilled migration; and 4) the impact of international agreements and domestic institutions on skilled migration flows. The participants will present a total of 15 papers, on topics ranging from the effects of the “brain drain” in Africa to the role of the American Medical Association in regulating the entry of skilled migrants.