The issue of brain drain and loss of labor force to foreign countries have been a serious problem for our country. According to Ministry of Education in the 2009/10, 27,000 students left the country for higher studies. Similarly 2 percent skilled labor, 23 percent semi skilled labor and 75 percent skilled labor migrated from the country shows the data of Ministry of labor.
Income differential and bad governance are the main reason for the increased migration in the country. The best way to return the migrants Nepalese is to reduce income differences and improve the situation of bad governance.
Return of skilled migrants can only be expected when local governance radically improves which happened in countries like Taiwan, Italy and Spain.
Brain drain is not always negative; if we can bring the experts back, it can be an asset for the country.
Return migration could be occasional, seasonal, temporary and permanent. All of it could be beneficial in one or the other way to the development of a country. There are four reasons for which people migrate back to their home country which includes return of failure, return of conservatism, return of retirement and return of innovation (Brain- Gain). Among these, the challenge remains on retaining development practitioners (Brain-Gain) who come back with the feeling to work for the country.
What can be done to promote Brain – Gain?
To promote brain gain the concerned authority should contribute to the development of the country which may encourage the migrants to come back and do something for the country’s betterment. Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) started its Returning Experts Program that supports University graduates from Germany and professionally experienced experts who are interested in returning to their home countries from April 2010 in Nepal.
The returning experts are the bridge between home country and the host country. They help in maintaining international relations and speak different languages fluently. The effort to bring back professionals and technical experts will ultimately help in sustainable contribution to economic, social and technical development in home country.
Brain gains are accommodated in the country in two ways. There are some people who want to invest in the country and start their own business. For Example: Some people who have returned have started their own business like khetibazar.com, harilo.com, ghampower among others.
Another way to accommodate is to provide best job in the highly competitive market. The employers should have the attitude that Nepalese are competent enough to provide best input to their organizations.
There is a high risk that returnees may further migrate due to frustration caused by employer’s attitude, organization system and difference in expectations between employers and returnees. For this, we should create position for young professionals, where one could get a career platform. Internship motivates temporary skilled migrants to settle in home country and it is very important to develop positive attitude and trust towards the new idea and young generations.
There is information gap between employers and qualified returnees regarding current job demand and its requirements. This has made both parties difficult in finding and choosing right employer and qualified candidate. The initiatives such as organizing job fair, providing information service, match making seminar would help to accommodate the returnees. The organizations should respect qualified human resource and the competent returnees should understand that there are opportunities in Nepal and hence should take the initiative and explore it.
(The write-up is based on the presentation given by Ms. Sushmita Malla, Coordinator- Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) which is followed by discussions in HR Kurakani in topic "Recruiting Brain Re-drains in Nepal held on Jan 26, 2011)