Institute for Labor Studies ILS (ILS) banner logo
Philippine Standard Time



The literature on the development impact of migration on the sending country is vast and complex. Remittances, however, have largely dominated the discourse in this area. One topic that has so far received relatively less attention in the literature on the link between migration and development, despite being perceived as having a major impact on the development of the economy, is “brain gain” or “transfer of knowledge activities” through the skills of migrants.

Migrants’ skills and knowledge or human capital constitute a form of asset or resource that migrants contribute to development besides financial (e.g., remittances) and social (e.g., professional networks) capitals. The main idea behind the concept of “brain gain” is that skills and capacities developed by migrants can be beneficial to the development of the home country through processes of transfer and exchange either through return and reintegration in the home country or through distant forms of transnational engagement.

Filipinos abroad have long been undertaking various forms of knowledge/skills transfer or “brain gain activities” either through their own private initiatives or through the support of overseas-based migrant networks (Opiniano and Castro, 2006). In fact, it can be said that a lot of ongoing initiatives on brain gain have risen up from informal networks or works of established organizations of diaspora abroad as well as their professional networks.

Despite the potential and dynamism of these transnational institutions, majority of their volunteers are foreign-based individuals who are either permanent residents or immigrants/naturalized citizens of other countries engaging in temporary or short-term development initiatives at home. Although these types of diaspora to development assistance are greatly appreciated, the promotion of transfer of knowledge and brain gain activities among highly-skilled or expert returned migrants is another mechanism for harnessing the potential of migration for development which the Philippines seems to overlook and evidently fails to take advantage of

Click Here to Download Full Paper

Title: “Enabling Expert Returnees to Contribute to National Development”: Case Studies of Returned Migrants Engaging in Brain Gain/Transfer of Knowledge Activities
: Olivette A. Gabito