Development and highly skilled migrants: Perspectives from the Indian diaspora and returnees
The migration development nexus assumes that skilled migrants possess the potential to bring benefits to their developing countries of origin. In India in particular, this brain-gain is of great interest to study because of the significant presence of Indian skilled professionals in western countries. This paper examines the role of the factors on an individual and structural level which are responsible for skilled Indian migrants’ interests in their home country’s development. It also examines the extent to which returnees actually perceive themselves as agents of development at both a collective and an interpersonal level. The authors apply logistic regression to a primary data-based survey on skilled Indians in Europe and returnees in India. They find that both familiarity with the contemporary Indian situation as well as disadvantaged identities drive skilled migrants’ interests in home-country development. Disadvantaged identities also affect returnees’ own recognition of their role as agents of development and change. Other factors bearing this agency role include membership of cultural, religious, or political organisations, professional field, and level of education.