Indian Skilled Migration and Development: To Europe and Back (2014)

Reviewer:   Monika Bisht

Indian Skilled Migration and Development: To Europe and Back (2014)

Author:   Tejada et. al.(ed.)

Publisher:   Springr India

High Migration is an important component in the post liberalized Indian economy. Liberalised economy crated both push and pull factors for accelerated mobility of people across borders. With the emergence of the knowledge economy and technological development, the global labour market has witnessed rise in demand for knowledge, skills and talents. This growing demand has led to an increase in the emigration of skilled-workers and professionals particularly from developing countries to the developed countries (Khadria, 2004). India is becoming a major supplier of human capital for the developed countries (Buga & Meyer, 2012). Being a developed economy, the Europe has always been a preferred area of destination for Indians. Due to the old aged population and limited young skilled workers, the European countries have been targeting on the Indian skilled and professionals to develop their economy.

Based on empirical evidences, the book discusses the migration of Indian skilled workforce to the European countries in detailed manner. This edited volume covers different themes of migration towards western countries such as skilled and unskilled migration, student migration for higher education, gender migration, globalization and Indian Scientific Diaspora, Return migration and development etc. The book has total thirteen chapters with central focus on the agenda of development through migration in recent decades. The book debates on growing concerns on inter-linkages between skilled migration and development. This book not only uncovers the un-researched areas but also strongly recommends the important policy directions for both home as well as host countries aiming at development agendas.

The three broader themes are covered in this book: Introduction, contexts and trends and empirical evidences and policy implications. The introduction part discusses the issues of emigration of Indians (skilled segment) to the European Union. Skilled-migration is an important consequence of globalization of market economy. The demands for high skilled migrants have increased in the developed countries for better output (Gabriela et. al., 2014).

The second part of the book deals with the trends and context of skilled migration through the examination of public intervention and institutional-structures both from the perspective of India as a country of origin and Europe as country of destination. In this context, the flow of skilled and unskilled migration has been discussed by Binod Khadria in the area of education, training and skills etc. Also, these two broad categories (skilled and unskilled labourers) have played a significant role in the economic development process in entire Europe. Further, Rupa Chanda and Deepaghrya Mukherjee analyse the skilled migration between India and European Union in the context of bilateral investments flows. The dearth of skilled workforce in the European Union has resulted in an increased demand for the same of the South Asian origin. This has been analysed well by the authors to understand the investment and labour mobility linkages between the EU and India and the related immigration regulations and entry schemes for the skilled professionals.

Furthermore, Metka Hercog has discussed the impact of the policies pertaining to the environment in the four major host states of the EU, namely, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland on the overall migration flow. Over the years, environmental degradation has caused numerous problems for the migrants.  However, for the host states, the national interest concerns come prior to the health issues for the migrants while drafting the policies.

The international student migration constitutes an important catalyst in the entire process of emigration of high skilled workers. In the contemporary times, the global exposure in higher education is essential for achieving employment in the global job market. The USA has been a leading destination for IT professionals and science graduates. (Khadria, 2002, 2008, 2010). In addition, countries like Germany, France, Italy and Spain are emerging destinations for Indian students seeking higher education (Chanda & Mukherjee, 2012). Ana Mosneaga has carried an empirical analysis of international student migration which she argues has helped to launch an educated high skilled workforce which can fuel growth. She has examined the processes that shape international student migration under the globalization of higher education.

The third part of the book deals with the empirical evidence and policy implication which analyses the systematised empirical evidence on Indian skilled migration and development, from both the diaspora based in European destination countries and returnees back in India. Umesh Bharte has discussed about the overview of the methods used in India and Europe for our research project on Indian skilled migration. Umesh Bharte and Rashmi Sharma, further, have discussed the various programmes and policies implemented by the Indian government to encourage Indian diaspora to contribute into the national development strategies. They suggest that the government of India has to develop the relationship of trust with the diaspora groups to harness this strategic goal. In the context of globalization, the question of knowledge transfer has become a debatable issue which Jean-Claude Bolay and Gabriela Tejada have discussed in their chapter. They argued that there are opportunities and uncertainties of globalization in terms of limited fair use and distribution of knowledge transfer between global north and global south. They have discussed this in reference of scientific diasporas at the centre of the discussion with analysing the case of India and its relationship with Europe as an example. In this context, it helps to understand to provide specific mechanisms which can beneficial for knowledge transfer and locate those factors which are necessary to prove beneficial for India. Further, the issue of return-migration of Indians from Europe has also been taken up. The current research reveals that there are both positive and negative consequences of return migration in India. The return-migration can prove to be financially fruitful and at the same time loss incurring depending on the nature of reverse migration.

So far, India has been gaining a large share of migrants’ remittances. In 2013, India received 70 billion dollars as remittances from abroad (MOIA, 2014). Here, the two major sources from where remittances have been collected are, namely, personal and institutional. At the personal level, impact of remittances directly influenced the household and resulted in the development of familial conditions and village level development in the last few decades. The authors, however, critically discussed the role of government in developmental agenda through remittances collected from all over the world. The Indian returnees bring knowledge and technical abilities, financial resources and entrepreneurial ventures, which contribute to the welfare of social groups, villages and communities as well. The author has argued that it positively benefits the local context. Furthermore, the resultant benefits also depend to a great extent from the state from which return migration is taking place.

Given the emphasis on skilled migration to Europe, development remains the central focus in analysing migration issues at both home as well as host countries. Skilled migration is a prerequisite for the economic and social development of both home as well as host-countries. Indian professionals and skilled workers seek better-opportunities for employment, businesses and the future prospects. At the same time, the talent produced by India in large numbers is significantly utilised by the developed states. In this context, it is important to analyse the position of India vis-à-vis other developed states. This book interrogates the actual position of Indian skilled migrants and tries to understand migration both in terms of process and situation reinforced by the state’s policies.

This book is a well-written, inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary analysis of the issues and challenges of skilled-migration to the European countries in present time. It helps to understand the role of public- interventions and institutional strategies to strengthen, manage and monitor the trends of migration and return migration from India.  However, it does not discuss about the country specific policies on skilled migration. In the present context, the government policies influence the flow of migration to the host-country and therefore, it depends largely on the way government policies intervene between the flow of migration and various stakeholders. However, the book fails to analyse the inter-relations between the skilled-migration and other subsets such as student-migration, gender migration and the return migration of women. The authors have laid a discussion on the issues related to the theme rather than inter-linking them with causes, consequences and the requirements of the serious issues. The authors have managed to critically disclose many issues, argued on novel and valid concerns, and also refuted existing facts with new evidences.



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Chanda & Mukherjee, (2012). Indian Student Mobility to European Countries: An Overview. © 2012, European University Institute Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.

International Organisation for Migration. World Migration Report 2000. © Copyright International Organization for Migration, 2000. © Copyright United Nations, 2000. ISBN 92-9068-089-X.

Khadria, Binod (2004).Migration of Highly Skilled Indians: Case Studies of IT and Health Professionals. OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers. STI Working Paper 2004/6. OECD. Paris

MOIA. (2012). Annual report 2011–12, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. New Delhi: Government of India.


Ministery of Indian Overseas Affairs

UN millennium submit


Monika Bisht, Rsearch Scholar NUEPA, New Delhi

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