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MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration Launches Series of Reports Examining the Implications of Emigration for High- and Middle-Income Countries

Press Release
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration Launches Series of Reports Examining the Implications of Emigration for High- and Middle-Income Countries

WASHINGTON – While the ongoing migration crisis continues to preoccupy Europe's policymakers and publics, another important migration trend has almost disappeared from the headlines, although not from policymakers' list of concerns: the emigration of well-prepared young Europeans to other European states and, more consequentially, to countries around the world.

Even as these outflows have slowed from their post-recession peak, increased levels of mobility have once more become the norm in Europe. And as the phenomenon has grown, both high-income and growing middle-income countries have had to adjust their thinking to address the loss of the well-educated young workers upon whom economies depend for growth, innovation and competitiveness.

At the twelfth plenary meeting of the Migration Policy Institute’s Transatlantic Council on Migration, experts focused on the scale and implications of these trends in Europe and beyond and posed the question: What concrete actions can governments and societies take to mitigate the costs of emigration and capture more of its potential benefits?

Today, the Transatlantic Council launches the first in a series of reports from the meeting, with the release of the Council Statement. In Rethinking Emigration: Turning Challenges into Opportunities, Transatlantic Council Convenor and MPI President Emeritus Demetrios G. Papademetriou outlines the reality of today’s emigration, which is much more complex than past flows while still being driven primarily by individuals seeking to take account of pronounced opportunity differentials and create better futures for themselves and their families. He also identifies a number of challenges and opportunities for governments looking to address the departure of their residents and set the stage for their continued engagement with their countries of origin.

Papademetriou outlines a series of guiding principles to help governments attenuate some of the adverse effects of emigration, emphasizing the importance of long-term structural reforms that create better opportunities to retain (and attract back) talented workers, and the importance of engaging thoughtfully with nationals while they are abroad.

“Experience makes clear that policymakers can neither prevent their residents from leaving nor entice them to return without structural reforms that improve opportunities at home,” argues Papademetriou. “Governments need to develop long-term strategies that include fundamental labor market and societal reforms that can slow the exodus and create an environment that makes the country attractive to those who might be considering returning as well as would-be immigrants.”

Read the report online here: www.migrationpolicy.org/research/rethinking-emigration-turning-challenges-opportunities-transatlantic-council-statement.

Forthcoming reports in the series will examine emigration trends and responses in Australia, China, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, with an eye on how origin and destination country governments can tap into the skills and resources of energetic young workers—no matter where they end up.

On November 24, MPI will hold a webinar in which Papademetriou and Antonio Vitorino, former European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs and former Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal, will discuss the challenges facing countries with sizeable emigration flows and the policy responses in their toolkits. Details and registration instructions for the webinar will be available online: www.migrationpolicy.org/events


The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration is a unique deliberative body that examines vital policy issues and informs migration policymaking processes across the Atlantic community. The Council’s work is at the cutting edge of policy analysis and evaluation and is thus an essential tool of policymaking.