03 June 2019
The diaspora already sends a considerable amount of remittances to the Western Balkan (WB) countries. The total figure of approximately seven billion EUR a year (Petreski et al, 2017) over the past 15 years has had a largely positive effect on development in the countries of origin. However, understanding of this phenomenon and policies to utilise the development potential of the diaspora are limited to remittance transfers, while investments, transfer of knowledge, tourism and other potential benefits are being largely ignored. In particular, there is a need for a better understanding of the potential of return migration, with return migrants bringing back specific skills and repatriated savings, often used to start a new business upon return. A first step towards designing appropriate policies to attract highly-skilled emigrants to return would be the collection of data about their potential and the obstacles they face.
This Policy Brief examines the return migration of highly skilled people, as well as the inadequacy of policies for mobilisation of their potential for