From Brain Drain to Brain Gain? A Comparative Analysis of Bulgaria and Taiwan and Implications for the Future of Skilled Migration Policies

Author Name

Isabel Dimitrov

Author Address

rue de France, 06000 Nice, France, [email protected]


skilled migration, brain circulation, diaspora studies, migration-development nexus, comparative migration studies.


The aim of this paper is to assess if and how “triple-win” situations in managing skilled migration can be achieved – for receiving and sending states, as well as for migrants themselves. While the amount of literature analysing reverse brain drain and brain gain has surged in the past decade, the analysis from a comparative perspective remains limited. By offering a comparative analysis, this paper aims to provide a better understanding of why the organized efforts and policies applied in Taiwan were successful in achieving “triple-win” skilled migration and how they could be adapted to countries experiencing primarily negative impacts from brain drain, such as Bulgaria.

The analysis of these country case studies illuminate several findings that offer broader insight into answering the question of whether the interests of sending states, receiving states and migrants can be reconciled. Key themes include the rise of transnational identities and in particular, their influence on diaspora network formation and brain circulation. The growing complexities of interactions between state and non-state actors will also be examined. Lessons gleaned from the experiences of Taiwan and Bulgaria will offer a better understanding of why “bottom-up” approaches have become especially crucial and how they can be successfully applied within the context of designing skilled migration policies.


International Conference on Migration, Diaspora and Development
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