Caribbean 'brain-drain' worsens
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper has suggested that there is evidence of a ‘brain-drain’ from the Caribbean and that the region is losing more to emigration than it is gaining from remittances.
That, despite the fact that the region is the largest recipient of cash sent home from its nationals abroad.
The Caribbean has among the highest emigration rates in the world and according to the IMF working paper, remittances accounted for an average of thirteen percent of the region's GDP in 2002.
Nonetheless, "emigration loss and external effects” and government expenditure on educating the migrants before they leave, outweigh the recorded remittances for the Caribbean region on average.
The paper claims that the migration rate is particularly high for highly-skilled workers who have completed some form of tertiary education.
Leaving for greener pastures
These workers take longer to develop their skills, increasing government expenditure on education. But this is an investment that cannot be harvested if the skilled workforce leaves for greener pastures.
The loss of a skilled workforce can also impact the regions welfare system for those who remain.
The IMF working paper suggests that possible solutions to this imbalance would be for the region to try to retain its highly-skilled workforce or to foster closer ties with citizens who do decide to emigrate.