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“Enabling Expert Returnees to Contribute to National Development”: Case Studies of Returned Migrants Engaging in Brain Gain/Transfer of Knowledge Activities

The literature on the development impact of migration on the sending country is vast and complex. Remittances, however, have largely dominated the discourse in this area. One topic that has so far received relatively less attention in the literature on the link between migration and development, despite being perceived as having a major impact on the development of the economy, is “brain gain” or “transfer of knowledge activities” through the skills of migrants. Migrants’ skills and knowledge or human capital constitute a form of asset or resource that migrants contribute to development besides financial (e.g., remittances) and social (e.g., professional networks) capitals. The main idea behind the concept of “brain gain” is that skills and capacities developed by migrants can be beneficial to the development of the home country through processes of transfer and exchange either through return and reintegration in the home country or through distant forms of transnational engagement. Filipinos abroad have long been undertaking various forms of knowledge/skills transfer or “brain gain activities” either through their own private initiatives or through the support of overseas-based migrant networks (Opiniano and Castro, 2006). In fact, it can be said that a lot of ongoing initiatives on brain gain have risen up from informal networks or works of established organizations of diaspora abroad as well as their professional networks.


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