Brain drain, not just some Halloween movie that hit Australia’s box offices this October. No, the term brain drain refers to the net loss of human capital that a nation, sector or organisation losses immigration to other locations sectors or organisations. This in essence is one of the reasons countries such as Australia offer specific visas for skilled workers; to entice them to live and work here so our broader community can benefit from their knowledge or skill set.
Brain drain is actually a crass way of saying Human Capital Flight or H.C.F, and there are three types of H.C.F.
- The first is Organisation, this entails individuals that view the state of their company as unstable and unable to provide growth and opportunity. This causes them to move on from their company and seek other ventures more lucrative in both a financial and internal nature.
- The second type of H.C.F is Industrial, this refers to the movement of skilled workers going from one industry to another. A classic example of this is America, where the country has been experiencing a brain drain within their public sector. This is due to baby boomers that have attained tenure beginning to retire. With the heightened competition for talent from the private sector and a cut in budgets from the US government there has been increasing difficulty in enticing replacements for the retirees.
- The final type is Geographical. Geographical H.C.F is one of the most sought after methods of ‘brain drain’ amongst countries and even states within countries. The reason for this is somewhat simple (and selfish) the country or region with the highest rate of skilled human capital will reap the most benefit.
This might seem far-fetched to claim that a few skilled workers can dramatically benefit the lives of a nation. However, by increasing the numbers of skilled workers in Australia and evenly dispersing the talent amongst our key industries and sectors will lead to rapid growth and innovation. Additionally there is the cultural benefit that comes from encouraging skilled workers from abroad to migrate to Australia. Australia is known as a cultural melting pot with many ethnicities and religions coming together to help produce some of the world’s most prominent innovators, scientists, academics and executives, amongst others. It was noted that in the 2000’s some 3.5 million UK citizens immigrated to countries such as Australia and the USA seeking a more favourable economic climate. Of those that migrated from the UK, many were young university graduates. The numbers of skilled migrants was so great that sociologists coined the term ‘talent drain’.
In September 2016, the Australian Government made changes to the visa system as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. The Entrepreneur Visa falls under the Business Innovation and Investment Subclass 188 and has been created to attract and retain skilled talent. The Subclass 188 (provisional) visa has pathways to permanent residence and allows entrepreneurs with $200,000 in funding from specific third parties to develop and commercialise their innovation ideas within Australia. In this case Australia is using this new visa to ‘brain drain’ other nations and ‘brain gain’ (you can tell they went out on a limb when naming these occurrences) for the benefit of the country.
Brain Drain is not new and the Entrepreneur visa is just one way that Australia is addressing the lack of skilled local talent. With the world market for skilled professionals at an all-time high, we will continue to see this in one form or another, as every country seeks to retain their talent and increase innovation within its borders. If you would like any more information on the Entrepreneurial Visa program or are looking to travel as a skilled worker, please contact our friendly visa team to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.