[Developing countries] The migration of trained persons from developing to developed countries raises important questions related to such matters as the equity of transfers of talent from developing to developed countries at high cost to the former and at no cost to the latter. Further, technological progress is a prerequisite to the economic development of developing countries, and trained persons are indispensable to the development and functioning of a society dependent upon such progress. The migration of these persons is therefore perceived by some countries as a serious threat to successful development efforts and to the successful execution of the economic and social changes which these countries desire. Yet, many developing nations see large numbers of their trained persons migrate to the advanced industrialized countries and contribute to the steadily growing total and per capita output of the developed countries at a time when they may be desperately needed at home. The financial loss suffered by a developing country due to the outflow of trained personnel is only the visible tip of the iceberg. The effects upon the process of development are as important, if not more so. The capacity of developing countries to achieve the progress associated with development depends upon the existence of structures within which this progress can take place and upon the existence of trained persons who can organize these structures and play key leadership roles within them. The structures include government, industries, agriculture and the social services; the trained persons include engineers, scientists, teachers, doctors and nurses. These persons can function only in the context of organized structures. Conversely, the structures are useless without the trained personnel to make them run. When, therefore, these trained personnel emigrate, the operation of the structures is seriously disrupted unless replacements are found from a continuing pool of similarly trained persons. The loss of such leaders therefore causes serious damage to programmes of development.
Some developing countries, where the early stage of development of higher education necessitates the training of many students abroad, are faced with the problem of students who failed to return home after completing their courses. Such students remained abroad either to pursue their studies up to a level higher than that needed by their own country or to accept employment. Further difficulties created by training abroad are the frequent failure of foreign curricula to meet national needs, and the inappropriate attitudes which were all too easily engendered during a prolonged stay in a more developed country.
[Small island developing states] Some island countries are suffering from acute population pressure, one response to which is emigration. Indeed, in some such countries, emigration can be the dominant demographic feature. Emigration is also influenced by cultural factors, among which is the frequent need to seek higher education abroad: small island countries cannot economically provide at home for their full range of educational needs. While the traditional destinations for unskilled emigrants are becoming more difficult to enter, the technically trained have less difficulty in finding a welcome and may be a lost resource for the country as they seek higher standards of living elsewhere. More generally, the high import content of the economy implies an imported cultural model which itself encourages emigration.