The US has been triumphant in marshalling the energies and skill of foreign talent from all over the globe to its national use. This drain on the already scarce resources of less developed countries has served to the advantage of the developed countries. The US, even today, attracts the largest number of international migrants; especially skilled migrants.
However the last decade has seen a change in scenario. The ability of the US to absorb and assimilate human capital flight from other parts of the globe seems to be on the decline. The US now seems to be witnessing a reverse flow of talented, skilled immigrants back to their countries of origin especially those from India and China.
Students from India and China who have travelled abroad to study for advanced degrees or work in their professions are now showing an increasing interest in returning to their home countries permanently. These countries are showing a marked shift from labour intensive to knowledge and technology intensive industries.
Recruitment of highly educated and experienced personnel has become the need of the hour. A lot of factors have contributed to the “reverse brain drain” phenomena, the main being delay in green card allotments which stretch from four to six years for Indian and Chinese nationals.
Apart from this, a large portion of credit for the reverse drain effect needs to be given to the governments and the private sectors of these developing countries. It is the systematic efforts of both of these that have been able to harness this specialized talent pool.
Numerous private industries in developing countries are now taking part in a big way in the global economy and competing with industries of developed countries. Cutting-edge science and technology alone can keep them in the race.
New laboratories and research centres are mushrooming in these countries and what they need above all else is researchers from developed countries with advanced training and work experience. Enter the expatriate.
Whatever the reason for the flight back home, the truth is these people are willing to move back to be able to leverage the tremendous opportunities that are presenting themselves back home. For the expatriates, moving back home to a developing country like India means taking a shot at being a part of a growing and dynamic economy; an economy where the resources being offered, will be greatly appreciated.
So it is finally happening! For decades Asian IITians and IIM graduates were lured to foreign shores with the dazzle of handsome remuneration. After years of losing the best of our brains and talent to the so called “land of opportunities”, it is time now to reap the benefits of “reverse brain drain.”