Can Brain Drain Justify Immigration Restrictions?
30 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2012 Last revised: 1 May 2016
Date Written: 2013
This article considers one seemingly compelling justification for immigration restrictions: that they help restrict the brain drain of skilled workers from poor states. For some poor states, brain drain is a severe problem, sapping their ability to provide basic services. Yet this article finds that justifying immigration restrictions on brain drain grounds is far from straightforward. For restrictions to be justified, a series of demanding conditions must be fulfilled. Brain drain does provide a successful argument for some immigration restrictions, but it is an argument that fails to justify restrictions beyond a small minority of cases.
Keywords: brain drain, immigration, global poverty, freedom of movement
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