Russian brain drain has come back into the focus after the country's invasion of Ukraine. While more than one million highly skilled people had already left Russia for OECD nations, that number is expected to rise even more after the country's economy virtually collapsed due to Western sanctions and other scrutiny in international markets.
The will to leave Russia is obviously getting stronger as the country's leadership has already tried to stop even middle-class Russians from relocating. As of last week, citizens could take no more than $10,000 when leaving the country. For those who can afford it, possible emigration is also made harder by commercial aviation disruptions and embassy closures. The highly educated and informed could also be more likely to disagree with Putin's decisions, potentially increasing their desire to settle elsewhere.
OECD data reveals that in 2015/2016 - the latest year on record - 40 million highly educated migrants were living in OECD member countries. While skilled migrants are certainly welcomed by labor markets in most developed nations especially in times of falling birth rates, the migration of the educated can also have a detrimental effect on their home countries - often described as brain drain.
As seen in the numbers, China and India had sent the most highly skilled migrants abroad as of the latest available date. Yet, compared to the size of their populations, the numbers are comparably low. Other major brain drain locations have lost many more talented workers in relative terms, for example the Philippines, Poland, Mexico and Russia.
The Philippines have been known for supplying the world with health care professionals, especially nurses. Many of these highly skilled professionals emigrate to the U.S., forming the third-most important skilled labor emigration corridor of the OECD behind Mexican and Indian migration to the United States. As a result, 14.3 percent of highly skilled Filipinos had emigrated to the OECD as of 2015/16. This rate is even higher in small or isolated developing economies. In Caribbean state Guyana, almost 71 percent of the highly educated had left for the OECD, compared with 66 percent in Trinidad and Tobago and 63 percent in Mauritius.