Some 72% of people born in Jamaica and holding a tertiary education degree live in OECD countries, a new report finds. Though Jamaica is the country with by far the highest emigration rate among people with such third-level qualifications (earned at home or abroad), the new study shows several OECD countries also feature highly.
The data, which cover the stock of emigrants up to 2000, indicate that 22.1% of Ireland’s academic elite live in other OECD countries compared with over 10% for the UK. In contrast, just over 3% of people born in Turkey and holding a tertiary qualification live in other OECD countries.
For the OECD generally, the emigration rate tends to be higher for people with tertiary qualifications than for the population as a whole, driven mostly by a lack of employment opportunities, social or political instability at home, or the prospect of higher pay and a better quality of life elsewhere. It raises several policy questions. There is the brain drain, as countries fail to retain their surgeons, teachers, engineers, etc. Also, highly skilled immigrants often find themselves in jobs for which they are overqualified.
Policies to better integrate these groups would benefit the immigrants and their host countries, the report says. Women face particular difficulties, even in relatively egalitarian Nordic countries, where there is a 12% difference between employment rates of foreign-born and native-born women.
A Profile of Immigrant Populations in the 21st Century at www.oecdbookshop.org, ISBN 9789264040908.
©OECD Observer No 266 March 2008
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