OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

International Movements of the Highly Skilled

In recent years there has been a growing recognition of the importance of international recruitment and movement of the highly skilled. Modern industries and services increasingly rely upon the acquisition, deployment and use of human expertise to add value in their operations. When this expertise is not available locally, employers frequently import it from abroad. This takes place in the context of two fundamental and interrelated processes: the development of internal labour markets by employers, on the one hand, and of the institutional framework by governments to facilitate the global interchange of skills, on the other.

The principal flows of highly skilled workers today reflect the global expansion of world trade, the international expansion of trans-national corporations, and the activities of institutions such as governments and recruitment agencies. Although not straightforward, there appears for example to be a positive relationship between flows of skilled labour and ...


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