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Pakistan Observer

Published Date: Jul 10, 2012

LOW INCOME COUNTRIES SUFFER DUE TO EMIGRATION

‘There is a substantial pain that the low income countries suffer due to emigration of highly educated to high income countries. This pain can be converted into gain if the states play a proactive role to tap the potentials of highly educated diaspora’ said Dr Shahrukh Rafi Khan, Visiting Professor of Economics, Mount Holyoke College, USA and Former Executive Director, SDPI.

He was speaking at a special lecture on “Highly educated emigration from low income countries: Turning pain to gain” organized by SDPI to commemorate its 20th anniversary celebrations. Executive Director of SDPI, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, moderated the proceedings.

Refuting the aid agencies argument of lack of capacity in the low income countries (LICs), Dr Rafi suggested that tapping the expatriate community would be cheaper because of the element of volunteerism and aspiration to serve their country and more effective given the linguistic and cultural advantages.

He argued that the monetary returns are likely to be higher in High Income Countries (HICs) but the social costs of migration is far greater than the social benefits. He was of the view both push and pull factors directly affect the process of emigration. He said the most important pull factor behind the high education migration is the wage differential. However, the better social facilities, social and workplace freedoms, and opportunities for children also contribute massively in this process. He said that some of the push factors in LICs hinder individuals from realizing their productive potential besides social and political chaos, conflicts, or civil insecurity induced by inefficient policing and legal mechanisms play important role in encouraging the emigration trends.

Dr. Rafi argued there is very high cost attached to emigration of highly skilled persons for a society.