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11 Countries With Highest Brain Drain

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When a human capital flight is mentioned, it would be expected that the list of 11 countries with highest brain drain contains what we like to call 3rd world countries or poorly developed nations. But the truth is, not even the richest countries in the world are safe from it. As it turns out, there’s always a place where the grass is greener.

Countries With Highest Brain Drain


The European Union, a collection of some of the most developed nations in the world, is experiencing a net loss of skilled workers due to extensive brain drain to the United States. Despite the fact that lots of immigrants are trying to get hold of EU promise land, these are mostly unskilled laborers from North Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe, although in recent years brain drain from India has become a significant influx. The problem has reached a point where European Commission was forced to design a program similar to the US Green Card, called Blue Card (yes, we all admire the endless imagination of Brussels’s bureaucracy) in order to attract skilled migrants.

But the problems poor countries face are much worse when it comes to the brain drain. They don’t have the possibility to lure migrants from other countries to replace their high-skilled workers who went abroad in pursuit of a better life. As more of them leave, the economic situation gradually gets worse, forcing even more people to abandon their country. This creates a vicious downward spiral with very grim prospects, exposing devastating consequences of brain drain.

Although economic reasons are main incentive behind one’s decision to uproot one’s life, there are other motives as well. Iranian migrants have stated, among other things, that socially oppressive and very strict religious laws in their homeland have been a major contributor to their decision to leave. For instance, it is illegal to listen to pop music in your car or wear Western clothes. When all of these are piles up, it is easy to understand why Iran is among countries with highest brain drain in the world.

It is no wonder that neither of the countries on or list are among the smartest countries in the world. It is pretty much impossible to be, if best and brightest from every generation leave in search for better life in foreign lands. Let’s see which nations had the misfortune to be among countries with highest brain drain.

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