International Mobility of Highly-Qualified People in APEC
An important aspect of the global knowledge-based economy is the emergence of a new trend where certain groups of highly-qualified workers have become increasingly mobile internationally. Reaching the goal of being more innovative economy requires that the highly-qualified workforce is of sufficient quantity and quality to support the expansion of innovative activities by firms. Many industrialized countries compete strategically in attracting these workers. It is necessary that the economic policy discussion surrounding the international mobility of skilled labour must take into consideration the wide variety of ways the migration of labour affects the economy. Numerous drivers, policy and non-policy induced, are at work. Attention must now turn towards the links between these movements and the regulating institutions; the performance in the trade of goods and services, FDI, human capital formation and multinational enterprises location, and income convergence among countries. This paper focuses on four key issues: First, it examines the global trends in the international migratory flows of highly qualified persons (HQPs), focusing on APEC economies. Second, it discusses the fundamental non-policy drivers of the increased HQP flows in the new global economy. Third, it reviews the literature on the economic costs and benefits associated with cross-country movement of HQPs and the main factors conditioning these costs and benefits. Finally, it addresses the question of how policy in APEC economies has adjusted or should adjust to the increased international HQP mobility.
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