Emigrants are often considered a loss for their country of origin but they can also play an important role in fostering trade and economic development, notably through the skills and contacts they have acquired abroad. If they choose to return, their re-integration into the labour market and society will be facilitated by the fact that they speak the local language, have specific social capital and possess local qualifications that are readily recognised by employers.

Drawing on the human resources of emigrants, however, necessitates maintaining links with them and pursuing policies adapted to the specific needs of each expatriate community. This entails, as a prerequisite, being able to identify precisely where, when and why people have left and what their socio-demographic characteristics and skills are, as well as gaining a proper understanding of the dynamics of the phenomenon and the aspirations of emigrants.

Statistical systems in countries of origin are generally poorly equipped to undertake this monitoring exercise. It is therefore helpful, if not essential, to compile information directly from destination country data sources. This is particularly challenging because it requires collecting data, based on comparable definitions and concepts, from a large number of countries across which emigrants are scattered. The OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC), which pools census and survey data, makes it possible to identify individuals over time by place of birth as well as by education and labour market status. It is a powerful tool for use in undertaking this mapping exercise, especially when complemented by available national sources (e.g. consular data, specific surveys, analyses of social networks) and many other international data sources.

This series of country reviews entitled “Talent abroad” aims to provide an accurate, updated and dynamic picture of diasporas by individual countries of origin. On this basis, and by building on cumulated experiences regarding the movements of diasporas, it is possible to formulate public policy recommendations on how best to engage with emigrants and mobilise their skills to support economic development in their country of origin.

This volume focuses on Georgia, which, in recent years, has experienced significant economic, social and political changes. In view of the scale of emigration by the Georgian population in the 21st century, the Georgian authorities are seeking to gain a better understanding of this pool of talent based abroad. To that end, this review was commissioned by the German Co-operation Agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ). The GIZ’s Programme Migration & Diaspora (PMD) supports partner countries in leveraging the positive effects of regular migration and diaspora engagement for their sustainable development. The PMD is implemented by the GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ). It is active in 23 partner countries around the world. The PMD supports partner countries in shaping development-oriented and socially responsible labour migration. It advises partner governments on migration policies and on promoting diaspora engagement for sustainable development.

The in-depth analysis of the Georgian diaspora presented in this OECD publication helps determine the economic potential of emigrants. How many emigrants are there, and where are they based? Are they of working age, and what is their level of education? What are the recent trends in terms of their number and socio-economic profile? What is their labour market presence in the host country and which occupations do they hold?

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