Book Chapter
Talent Mobility in the Global Economy

Europe as a Destination

This chapter explores Europe's position in attracting foreign talent relative to other OECD regions. It focuses on the international migration of talent embodied in students and in highly skilled migrants and also provides scattered evidence on other types of talent through three case studies — on South Africa (as a sending country of nurses), economics (a social science with important fallouts on the rest of society), and football (soccer) players (a type of global cultural talent). Based on evidence of flows of university students as well as on the stocks of highly skilled people in OECD countries, it argues that Europe is more attractive, in quantitative terms, to talent from other developed countries than to talent from developing countries. It also argues that Europe's relative lack of attractiveness to highly skilled migrants from developing countries is related to historical, economic, and institutional factors. Among these are the structure of labour markets in several EU countries, restrictive product market regulations and barriers to entrepreneurship, the fact that Europe's immigration policies have only recently moved to favour the highly skilled after focusing family reunification and asylum migrants, and that Europe's higher education sector, while attractive to students from developed countries, appears to be less attractive/open to students from outside the EU.