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ADB warns RP on ill-effects of 'brain drain'

ADB warns RP on ill-effects of 'brain drain'

Swelling ranks of OFWs draining local talent pool

By Daxim Lucas
Last updated 03:07am (Mla time) 11/06/2006

Published on page B1 of the November 6, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

AN INFLUENTIAL multilateral funding agency has urged both the public and private sectors to implement more initiatives to reverse the effects of a "brain drain" caused by the swelling ranks of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The Manila-based Asian Development Bank has warned that the sustained export of skilled Filipino labor could eventually end up discouraging foreign investments if the local talent pool continued to decline.

"Brain drain has an impact on foreign direct investment as capital will flow only into economies with perceived adequate supplies of skilled labor in key sectors," the bank said in a book released last week titled "Converting Migration Drains into Gains."

"One of the greatest concerns about brain drain is that the continued migration of skilled workers reduces overall productivity," it added.

The 66-nation member organization defines brain drain as a situation when a country's diaspora is disproportionately made up of skilled workers, causing the source country to experience a decline in average-per-worker income. Eventually, educational investments in the source country--such as tuition paid for nursing or computer skills courses in the Philippines--become subsidies for the destination country.

The ADB pointed out that the country's migrant labor force "encompasses a disproportionate share of the most productive age group (those between 25 to 44 years old)," which suggests a loss, even for temporary and limited periods, of "those with the most experience, on-the-job training, and likely supervisory skills."

The group also represents "a disproportionate share of individuals with greater number of years of education, especially those who have completed bachelor's or higher degrees."

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