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Scientific diasporas as development partners

Skilled migrants from Colombia, India and South Africa in Switzerland: empirical evidence and policy responses- Preface by Jean-Baptiste Meyer

Edited By Gabriela Tejada Guerrero and Jean-Claude Bolay

Over the last two decades, globalisation has accelerated international migration flows, particularly of skilled labour. Yet increasing migration by skilled workers from developing countries («brain drain») has raised serious concerns internationally about the adverse development impact on their countries of origin. This book, however, highlights the positive aspects of skilled labour migration as scientific diasporas are playing a growing role in the transfer of technology, skills and knowledge («brain gain») to their home countries. This is a very significant development in a globalised world where science, technology and knowledge can trigger economic and social transformations. The book presents solid empirical evidence of the contributions scientific diasporas make to their countries of origin, based on primary surveys of skilled migrants from Colombia, India and South Africa employed in Switzerland, a major destination country. The findings lead to a better understanding of the motives for migration, the profile of the scientific diaspora communities in Switzerland, and the varied ways in which they help their home countries. The book makes a significant contribution to the international policy debate and dialogue on migration and development. In particular, it shows how to leverage the potential of scientific diasporas as agents of home country development, by identifying good practices and offering specific recommendations for the countries of origin and of destination.

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Chapter 5 The Colombian Scientific Diaspora in Switzerland by Gabriela TEJADA 199

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Chapter 5 The Colombian Scientific Diaspora in Switzerland Gabriela TEJADA1 Table of Contents Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 1. Colombian Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212 1.1 General Political and Socioeconomic Situation in Colombia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212 1.2 Science and Technology in Colombia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214 1.3 The Origins of the Colombian Scientific Diaspora Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218 2. Colombian Skilled Migrants in Switzerland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 2.1 Project Background, Case Study and Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 2.2 Causes and Characteristics of Colombian High Skilled Migration to Switzerland and Migrants’ Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 2.2.1 Migration Determinants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 2.2.2 Migration Paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232 2.2.3 Daily Life Experiences, Living and Working Conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234 Positive First Experiences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235 Negative First Experiences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 Personal Identity in Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240 Balancing Work and Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242 Leisure Activities and Swiss Quality of Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244 Contacts with Other National Communities and Bi-national Couples . . . . . 245 2.2.4 Integration in the Host Country . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247 Trans-national Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 Skilled Migrants’ Residential Status and Dual Citizenship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251 Lack of Integration Feelings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254 2.3 Brain Gain Mechanisms, Social Remittances and Other Trans-national Practices . . . 255 2.3.1 Scientific Diaspora Networks, R & D Initiatives and North-South Scientific Collaborations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255 2.3.2 Knowledge Transfer, Social Remittances and Other Trans-national Practices . . . 261 2.3.3 Impact on Development in the Host Country . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262 2.3.4 Links with Families in the Country of Origin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265 1 Cooperation@epfl, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). 200 2.3.5 Further Positive Impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267 2.3.6 Brain Gain Strategies and Lessons Learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273 2.4 Motivation, Ability to Mobilise, Perception of an Enabling Environment and Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275 2.4.1 Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275 2.4.2 Ability to Mobilise...

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