Go back

OECD finds more degree-holders among emigrants

The percentage of international migrants with degrees is steadily rising, meaning that increasing numbers of educated people are looking for a better life abroad, according to an OECD report.

The report, ‘Connecting with Emigrants’, says that a third of immigrants who arrived in OECD countries in the last five years have degrees. The organisation said this translates into about 26 million people.

Migrants educated to a tertiary level make up the highest share among migrants from China (70 per cent), followed by India (63 per cent) and Nigeria (61 per cent). About 36 per cent of sub-Saharan African migrants hold a degree, the report states. The lowest share of degree-holders was found among migrants from Mexico (7 per cent), Turkey (8 per cent) and Portugal (9 per cent).

The report warns that such high numbers of tertiary-educated migrants put their countries of origin at risk of brain drain. Brain drain is particularly high in the Caribbean, with 75 per cent of highly educated nationals of Barbados, Guyana, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago living abroad.

The report highlights the medical professions as a field at high risk of emigration. There is a continuous increase in non-OECD medical professionals in the OECD, which could affect healthcare provision and quality in poorer countries, the report warns.