This paper argues that despite a sizeable literature on return migration, it is still not well understood whether highly skilled migrants are remaining in their host countries or returning to their home countries. I argue that most British and Indian scientists working in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector around Boston are likely to remain in the US. This provides a different perspective to many recent studies which have highlighted the temporary nature of highly skilled migration. I argue that permanent types of migration need to be placed in the context of other temporary forms of migration. Similarly to microeconomic theories of migration, I argue that professional opportunities are the principal reason why highly skilled migrants would return to their home countries. However, culture and lifestyle, family considerations, and to a lesser extent governments, are also significant in shaping migration decisions. This paper shows that there are important differences in the intentions of highly skilled migrants from developed and developing countries to return to their home countries. I argue that migrants often face conflicting loyalties in different countries, and their individual social networks with actors in their host and home countries will help them make migration decisions. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Population, Space and Place – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 2009
Keywords: ; ; ;
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