About the project

The Economic and Social Effects of High-Skilled Emigration  -  Evidence from Romania

This research project aims to analyze the process of emigration of highly skilled Romanian workers and to investigate the consequences of brain drain on migrants as well as on the sending country. A key focus is on the migration of the medical doctors, which in Romania is the most targeted high-skilled occupation in terms of emigration.

The migration of tertiary educated people from poor to rich countries has increasingly becoming an important aspect of the international migration. In the last decades, the highly skilled emigration stocks have increased by a much higher rate compared to those of low-skilled workers, especially in countries from Eastern Europe, Central America and sub-Saharan Africa (Docquier and Rapoport, 2012).

Among countries from Eastern Europe, Romania records one of the largest stocks of high-skilled emigrants (164 214 in 2000 as documented in Docquier and Rapoport, 2012), especially affected being key professions such as medical doctors and IT specialists. In 2007, for example, 4990 medical doctors, representing more than 10 percent of the medical active workforce, expressed their intention to migrate as measured by the number of certificates issued by the Romanian Ministry of Health. In 2010 more than 300 certificates per month were issued to medical doctors. These numbers are really large given the fact the high skilled migration rarely exceeded 3 percent of the domestic workforce in the EU countries (Wismar et al., 2011).

Following the years of accession to the European Union, the outflows of health professionals slightly decreased, but now the trend is still growing. Given the fact that Romania has the fewest number of practicing doctors per head of population in the EU (Eurostat, 2013), the medical brain drain should be regarded as an “issue of national concern”, as stated by Professor Vasile Astărăstoae, the President of the Romanian College of Physicians.