"BRAIN DRAIN" IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS: A DEADLY CYCLE

HETQ
13:44, October 31, 2011

According to an article in today's The Financial regarding emigration
trends in the South Caucasus, 64% of Armenians would leave Armenia
for a certain period, while fewer Azerbaijanis - 52%, and Georgians -
47%, would do the same.

The article focuses on the phenomenon called the "Brain Drain" -
when the more skilled people emigrate -- i.e., leave their country
of residence and citizenship heading to a more advanced country.

Muhammad Asali, ISET Professor, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2008,
believes that it really does hurt local economies.

"Not only is this a harmful phenomenon, but it is also self-sustained;
the vicious circle goes as follows: skilled workers emigrate because
there are no good opportunities for them in the country of origin:
no job offers, low wages, high unemployment, job possibilities not
matching their skills and abilities. Once they leave, however, all
these problems become worse -- because the potential driving force
of development (skilled and educated workers) are not there anymore,
infrastructure and opportunities deteriorate -- rendering additional
waves of out migration," added Asali.

The data, compiled by the Caucasus Barometer (compiled by The Caucasus
Research Resource Centers) CRRC also shows that Armenians are more
willing to permanently leave their country - 29%, than the Azerbaijanis
- 17%, and Georgians - 7%.

Ethnic Armenians within Georgia alone are also more likely to
permanently emigrate from the country than the other internal ethnic
groups. 42% of the ethnic Armenian population in Georgia reported
desire to leave Georgia forever compared to 7% of ethnic Azerbaijanis
and 6% of ethnic Georgians within the country.

Additionally, there is a pattern in which people who have travelled
abroad are more inclined to emigrate in all three countries. Nearly
eight-in-ten Azerbaijanis, 78% who have once travelled abroad, would
temporarily leave the country followed by 71% who travelled abroad
twice or more, and 48% for those who have never travelled abroad.

Similarly, 71% Armenians who have been abroad at least once are more
interested in temporary migration than their compatriots who have
never travelled, 48%, outside Armenia.