Skilled Migration Bibliography


An annotated bibliography discussing issues of skilled migration in STEM fields. 



World Medical Association Statement on Ethical Guidelines for the International Migration of Health Workers (2014)
Outlines guidelines for how to ethically develop a health care workforce in developed and developing nations and guidelines for the recruiting of health care workers from other countries. The article examines the case for a two-tiered health training system, one for global markets and the other for local markets. Retention and return of the skilled are examined through the potential for outsourcing in both education and health care. The article concludes with an examination of policy approaches towards skilled migration and offers pointers towards a more balanced and integrated approach by placing the emphasis on development rather than control of migrants.


Boeri, T., & Becker, S. O. (2012). Brain drain and brain gain the global competition to attract high-skilled migrants. New York: Oxford Publishing.
The worldwide race to attract talents is getting tougher. The US has been leading the race, with its ability to attract PhD candidates and graduates not only from emerging countries, but also from the European Union. However, a growing number of countries have adopted immigration policies specifically aimed at selecting and attracting skilled workers. This book describes the global competition to attract talents. It focuses in particular on two phenomena: the brain gain and brain drain associated with high-skilled migration. 

Journal Articles

Agbiboa, D. E. (2012). Offsetting the Development Costs? Brain drain and the role of training and remittances. Third World Quarterly, 33(9), 1669-1683. doi: 10.1080/01436597.2012.720847.
This article calls into question the assumption that the emigration of the highly skilled will automatically represent a loss to the country of origin. The paper positions itself between the two extremes of brain drain as constituting a pure loss or a pure gain for sending countries and calls for a more moderate approach to skilled migration and its impact on development.

Cometto, G., Tulenko, K., Muula, A. S., & Krech, R. (2013). Health Workforce Brain Drain: From Denouncing the Challenge to Solving the Problem. PLoS Medicine, 10(9), 1-3. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001514.
Discusses how higher income countries draw health care workers from lower to middle income countries and the problems this raises.  Article points to the WHO Code for the International Migration of Healthcare Workers as a key opportunity to find solutions to these issues.

Dwyer, J. (2007). What's Wrong with the Global Migration of Health Care Professionals? Individual Rights and International Justice. Hastings Center Report, 37(5), 36-43. 
When health care workers migrate from poor countries to rich countries, they are exercising an important human right and helping rich countries fulfill obligations of social justice. They are also, however, creating problems of social justice in the countries they leave. Solving these problems requires balancing social needs against individual rights and studying the relationship of social justice to international justice.

Gheaus, A. (2013). Care Drain as an Issue of Global Gender Justice. Ethical Perspectives: Journal of the European Ethics Network, 20(1), 61-80. 
The gendered division of labor in combination with the feminization of international migration contribute to shortages of care, a phenomenon often called 'care drain'. The author argues that this phenomenon is an issue of global gender justice. She also explains why care drain is a problem of distributive justice, by looking at the background conditions that result in much of the care-givers' migration.

Hussain, S. M. (2015). Reversing the Brain Drain: Is it Beneficial? World Development, 67, 310-322. doi: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.10.023.
Article discusses if it is beneficial to call back expatriates of a developing country who have left their home country.

Logue, D. (2009). Moving policy forward: 'brain drain' as a wicked problem. Globalization, Societies & Education, 7(1), 41-50. doi: 10.1080/14767720802677366.
Drawing upon a historical documentary analysis of the issue from 1990 to 2007 and interviews with current policy-makers,  the author proposes that reconceptualizing this issue will enable actors to collectively and explicitly recognize the fundamental and conflicting perspectives inherent in this social problem that cannot be resolved. This reconceptualization provides a platform from which policy-makers can pursue a range of policy responses, attentive to the different perspectives on this issue, rather than spend more time and resources in futilely attempting to achieve a single definitive position and policy response.

Merçay, C. (2014). Managing the International Migration of Health Workers: The Development of the WHO Code of Practice. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 40(6), 960-978. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2013.855076.
In the context of a global shortage of health workers, policy-makers have become aware of the international migration of health personnel and the consequences of their recruitment for their countries of origin. In May 2010, the World Health Assembly, as the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, adopted a non-binding Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel that embodies a new global script for the migration of health workers. This article aims, first, to understand how the phenomenon of health worker migration has established itself as an issue that, countries and their governments feel compelled to address.

Sabharwal, M., & Varma, R. (2015). Scientific Diaspora: Stay Plans of Indian Faculty in the United States. Perspectives on Global Development & Technology, 14(3), 368-387. doi: 10.1163/15691497-12341351.
This paper presents the reasons why Indian faculty in science and engineering stay in the United States. Data for this study come from 51 in-depth interviews of faculty members of Indian origin working in various research universities across the US. Findings show that, although Indian faculty came to the US for higher education without intending to become permanent residents, they chose to stay mostly due to the research opportunities, favorable work environments, career prospects and lifestyle preferences available in the US. The study adds validity to the international migration theory, which has not taken this particular group of faculty into consideration.

Skeldon, R. (2009). Of Skilled Migration, Brain Drains and Policy Responses. International Migration, 47(4), 3-29. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2435.2008.00484.x.
Developed countries trying to attract skilled migrants rarely give any consideration to the impact that this migration may have on countries of origin.

Kelly Laas. . Skilled Migration Bibliography. Online Ethics Center. DOI: