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How to reverse the Italian brain drain: a master class from Australia

Breda, Vito 2014. How to reverse the Italian brain drain: a master class from Australia. International Migration 52 (4) , pp. 64-77. 10.1111/imig.12142

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This article discusses the limits of Italian immigration policies and their effects on the Italian market of highly skilled individuals. Highly skilled individuals are normally perceived as valuable resources that a country should foster and even, if possible, attract from other states (Meyer and Brown, 1999). Unfortunately, Italian statutory provisions aimed at regulating immigration focus on limiting immigration without a reasoned distinction between skilled and unskilled immigrants. The paper reflects on the reasons for the parochial structure of the Italian white-collar market – which is mainly cultural - and its effects. In the past decades, Italy's private and public sectors have suffered the effects of a “brain drain” of a wide range of highly skilled professionals (Becker, Ichino and Peri, 2003). A series of reasons, such as the fact that Italy is - and has been for some time - one of the world's most sluggish, heavily industrialised economies (Hornby, Mackenzie, 2011), might explain the departure of skilled individuals from the Italian job market. Italy’s lack of economic growth in the private sector (and the related high unemployment rate) “pushes” away highly skilled individuals from areas of oversupply (e.g. Italy) to strong economies (e.g. Australia) where particular abilities are in demand. The paper would like to address the issue by suggesting the introduction of a medium/long-term visa for highly skilled individuals (Ottonelli and Torresi, 2010), and by promoting the establishment of private multinational universities modelled on the European Institute in Florence. These new institutions would open the academic job market to overseas researchers and at the same time provide a more solid base for the retrieval of Italian academics working abroad. The paper is divided in two sections which are preceded by an introduction. The first section deals with the Italian immigration statutory provisions. The second explains the policies that might increase the efficiency of the Italian market for elite employees.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0020-7985
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2019 12:25

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