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International Mobility of Skilled Labour: Analytical and Empirical Issues, and Research Priorities

  • Surendra Gera

    (Industry Canada)

  • Samuel Laryea

    (Human Resources Development Canada)

  • Thitima Songsakul

    (Industry Canada)

The international mobility of skilled labour has become a key component of the global knowledge-based economy. Rising levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), international trade, research and development (R&D), technological advances and increased demand for skilled workers seem to have all contributed to an increase in the international mobility of skilled labour. Internationally mobile individuals are often found participating in industries that are largely knowledge-based and global in scope. As a result, it has become increasingly important that the economic policy discussion surrounding the international mobility of skilled labour must take into consideration the wide variety of ways the migration of skilled 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 institutions regulating them; the performance in the trade of goods and services; FDI; human capital formation and multinational enterprises location; and income convergence among countries. This paper provides an overview of the literature on four key issues surrounding the international mobility of skilled workers, while identifying potential directions for future research. First, global trends of recent international skilled migratory flows – magnitude and their composition in terms of underlying skills/education of migrants with a focus on Canada-US migratory flows. Second, fundamental (non-policy) drivers of the increased skilled migratory flows, especially among advanced countries. Third, economic costs and benefits associated with cross-country movement of skilled labour and the main factors conditioning these costs and benefits. Fourth, how policy has adjusted or should adjust to increased skilled labour mobility in the global economy?

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Trade with number 0507004.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: 22 Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:0507004
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 60
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