180 The “Battle for the Brains:” Selective Migration Policies, Practices and Outcomes

Wednesday, June 26, 2013: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM
2.13 (Binnengasthuis)
This panel focuses on highly skilled immigration to European countries since 1990. Selective labour migration policies have been proliferating and most OECD member states have now devised special visas and programs to actively recruit high-skilled immigrants, particularly scientists, engineers, medical professionals and information technology professionals from developing countries, such as India and China as well as from each other.  The Independent Commission on Migration to Germany, led by former Bundestag President, Rita Süssmuth, described these changing polices in terms of a “battle for the brains” in which former French President Nicolas Sarkozy noted, “the most qualified migrants, the most dynamic and competent ones head to the American continent, while immigrants with little or no skills come to Europe.” Sarkozy further argued, “We no longer want immigration that is inflicted [on us]....We want selected immigration.” Over the past decade, European countries like Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Norway and the Czech Republic have initiated selective migration policies, often by copying the point systems that the Canadian and Australian governments use to select permanent immigrants by education and occupational skills as well as adopting temporary visas like the H1-B visa available in the U.S. to high-skilled workers.  As opposed to unskilled migrants and asylum seekers, European policymakers increasingly view high-skilled immigrants as less prone to unemployment and welfare dependency, unproblematic to integrate and less politically controversial. Despite such policymaker preferences, selective immigration polices remain contested due to concerns that highly-skilled immigrants may present for domestic labour, as well as a mismatch between selection criteria and actual labour market outcomes. This panel will examine high-skilled immigration policies; the processes by which these policies are determined; the outcomes of such policies for selecting states and for the highly skilled immigrants themselves. The papers are a subset of a special issue journal submission.
Georg Menz
Jeroen Doomernik
Selective Migration Policy Models and Changing Realities of Implementation
Rey Koslowski, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
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