Highly skilled immigrants flocking to four countries

A new study carried out by the Harvard Business School has found that the world’s most highly skilled immigrants are increasingly concentrating in just four countries.

Researchers Sari Pekkala Kerr, William Kerr, Çaǧlar Özden and Christopher Parsons looked at migration patterns in recent decades to track any changes in either the volume of people moving around the world, or where they are coming from or going to.

The researchers found that four countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia — attract the vast majority of the world’s highly skilled immigrants.

“A pattern is emerging in which these high-skilled migrants are departing from a broader range of countries and heading to a narrower range of countries,” the paper noted. “in particular, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.”

Combined, the researchers found that 75 per cent of all highly skilled immigrants move to one of these four countries, with the United States the destination for more than 40 per cent of immigrants alone.

The paper noted that other developed economies such as Germany, France and Spain have stepped up their efforts to attract skilled immigrants. But so far they have yet to make a dent.

The study dispels some myths about immigration, including the notion that immigration is becoming more common. It found that 3 per cent of the world’s population currently lives in a country that is not that of their birth— the same rate as in 1960.

But one thing that has increased is temporary migration for work purposes. “For example, global companies often insist that their rising executives live and work in other countries for a meaningful portion of their careers,” the authors wrote.

The report also predicts migration in the future will be more ‘circular,’ with a larger share of migrants returning to their home countries.

Article published 24th October 2016