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Activity 3

Brain Drain or brain gain?

The Brain Drain: Old myths, new realities

The Brain Drain: Old myths, new realities
The United States is the main pole of attraction for foreign skilled workers; 40% of its foreign-born adult population have tertiary level education. Since the early 1990s, some 900 000 highly skilled professionals, mainly IT workers, from India, China, Russia and a few OECD1 countries (including Canada, the UK and Germany) have migrated to the United States under the H1B2 temporary visa programme. […] International mobility of skilled workers can generate global benefits by improving knowledge flows […]. The contribution of foreign skilled workers to economic growth and achievement in host countries, in particular to research, innovation and entrepreneurship, is increasingly recognised – witness the number of foreign-born US Nobel Prize winners or creators of global high tech companies, such as Intel or eBay, and other successful start-ups. […] The harsh reality is that only a handful of countries have been successful in luring their talented emigrés back home […]; in 2000, it was estimated that some 1,500 highly qualified Indians returned from the United States, although more than 30 times that number depart each year. The risk of a Brain Drain is real. Yet countries can create opportunities for research, innovation and entrepreneurship at home and stimulate a return flow of migrants and capital, as well as win access to international innovation networks.

1. OECD (n.) = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
2. H1B visa = a visa granted to foreign skilled workers for specialty occupations.
“The Brain Drain: Old myths, new realities”, Mario Cervantes and Dominique Guellec, OECD Observer, 2002.

Read the text. Then, click on your path.


Workbook p. 7
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Where do skilled workers come from?

Do all talented immigrants go back home?

Identify solutions to stop the Brain Drain.

Useful vocabulary: Actually / In reality…
The solutions given are...
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Summarize the current tendency for skilled workers.

Who does it benefit?

What are the risks of the Brain Drain? Can the situation change?

Useful vocabulary: Skilled workers tend to…
There is a sharp contrast between…

Let's talk this out!

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Share your findings with your classmates.

Have you ever considered emigrating to the US? Why or why not?

Useful vocabulary: If I were... If I had... I would probably...
I have already / never considered emigrating to the US because…
I feel like immigrating to the US...
I seriously consider going to the US because...

Grammar in progress

Les mots composés

    a. Observez les expressions soulignées dans le texte. De quoi sont-elles formées ? (Nom ? Adj ?…) Traduisez-les en français.
    b. Que remarquez-vous ?
    c. Quelles sont les différences entre l’anglais et le français ?

Exercices p. 26 Précis grammatical p. 267

Let's learn!

Chain speaking

In groups of four, make sentences about the Brain Drain.

Over to you!

The life of an immigrant

Let’s use what you have learnt in
Activity 3
and / or
Activity 4

You work for Time magazine and you have to write an article about a famous immigrant who made it in the US.

You can pick an immigrant mentioned on this page or a US immigrant you know about.
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