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Thailand established in 1997, within National Science and Technology Development Agency, a 2.2 billion baht project called "Reverse Brain Drain". Its aim is to "use 'brain' and 'connections' of Thai professionals living overseas to help in Development of Thailand, particularly in science and technology."
The OECD ("International Mobility of Highly Skilled") believes that:
"More and more highly skilled workers are moving abroad for jobs, encouraging innovation to circulate and helping to boost economic growth around globe."
But it admits that a "greater co-operation between sending and receiving countries is needed to ensure a fair distribution of benefits".
The OECD noted, in its "Annual Trends in International Migration, 2001" that (to quote its press release):
"Migration involving qualified and highly qualified workers rose sharply between 1999 and 2000, helped by better employment prospects and easing of entry conditions. Instead of granting initial temporary work permits only for one year, as in past, some OECD countries, particularly in Europe, have been issuing them for up to five years and generally making them renewable. Countries such as Australia and Canada, where migration policies were mainly aimed at permanent settlers, are also now favoring temporary work permits valid for between three and six years ... In addition to a general increase in economic prosperity, one of main factors behind recent increase in worker migration has been development of information technology, a sector where in 2000 there was a shortage of around 850,000 technicians in US and nearly 2 million in Europe..."
But OECD underplays importance of brain drain:
"Fears of a "brain drain" from developing to technologically advanced countries may be exaggerated, given that many professionals do eventually return to their country of origin. To avoid loss of highly qualified workers, however, developing countries need to build their own innovation and research facilities ... China, for example, has recently launched a program aimed at developing 100 selected universities into world-class research centers. Another way to ensure return ... could be to encourage students to study abroad while making study grants conditional on student's return home."
The key to a pacific and prosperous future lies in a multilateral agreement between brain-exporting, brain-importing, and transit countries. Such an agreement should facilitate sharing of benefits accruing from migration and "brain exchange" among host countries, countries of origin, and transit countries. In absence of such a legal instrument, resentment among poorer nations is likely to grow even as mushrooming needs of richer nations lead them to snatch more and more brains from their already woefully depleted sources.
Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.