Migration, Scientific Diasporas and Development: Impact of Skilled Return Migration on Development in India

Skilled migration has gained significance over the past number of years, with increasing studies addressing the flows of scientists, skilled professionals and students within the migration and development nexus, from the perspective of their potential contributions to the countries of origin either through diaspora interventions or by their eventual return. India represents a good example because of the high quality of its human resources and the fact that it is a significant source of skilled personnel for many countries around the world. While a number of European countries have upsurged as new destinations in the search for Indian talent, little is known about Indian skilled professionals and students there, their commitment to home country development and return intentions. Also, skilled return migration to India has not been fully understood. The objective of this research project was to explore the development impact of skilled return migration in India and to examine the perceptions of Indian skilled professionals and students in Europe with regard to their potential role in home country development. Drawing on first-hand data collected simultaneously in India and Europe, and using the framework of diaspora contributions and the return channels, the study illustrates the influence overseas exposure has on the professional and social position of skilled migrants upon their return to India, and the problems they face when transferring the specialized knowledge and technical skills they have gained abroad. While skilled Indian migrants consider physical return as a necessary condition for knowledge transfer, linking their development aspirations to their return plans, they face a number of obstacles within the local system that hinder the transfer of knowledge once they return to India. This report is an outcome of the international research project entitled “Migration, Scientific Diasporas and Development: Impact of Skilled Return Migration on Development in India”. It provides an overview of the main data, methods, research findings and their policy implications.

    Keywords: Skilled migration ; scientific diasporas ; return migration ; development ; India ; Europe


    This publication should be cited as: CODEV-EPFL, IDSK, JNU & ILO (2013) Migration, scientific diasporas and development: Impact of skilled return migration on development in India. Final research report. Cahier de la Coopération no. 8 (Lausanne: CODEV-EPFL).


    • EPFL-REPORT-195739

    Record created on 2014-01-14, modified on 2016-08-09

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