Knowledge is finite and mobile
Seems to me after countless years seeing some of my friends struggling to get work visas in the US and their personal lives turned upside down forcing their very valid and capable partners to assume a life of “wife of …” and stay at home things are starting to reverse and no doubt as the crisis moves faster and faster many of them will go back to their respective countries. Let’s face it, the US specially is right now entrenched making top talent wanting to go to work there suffer a long and arduous path. Of course companies can help a lot but sometimes this is simply not possible and every year is more difficult.
So what is the impact? not only the US and UK specially have gone on a outsourcing frenzy and dismantled many industry key areas, not only the local education has gone for the rich that can pay it but are not really hungry, the fact is that knowledge and industry are now no longer residing in the “developed” countries, but on countries like China and India, where is likely to stay offsetting the power balance to the East. Indeed this is the end of the western empires and the start of the eastern ones with China clearly leading the lot.
And let’s face it, we all want to work on things we like, close to our roots, on our mother tongue, inside a culture we understand and can truly get immersed. This of course is the dream and what seems at first as a little ” a couple of years” adventure turns onto a point of no return given the poor prospects at home combines with a newfound professional happiness but this is about to change if having work permission is so hard you have to wait 10 years, is going to change if the education standards of the country you are have degenerated so much you don’t want to educate your kids there and it is going to change of course if an economic crisis of this scales forces a major shake up on everything.
So where are we going? my feeling is that countries like the US and UK who have relied to much on foreign talent should be very very careful how hard they make their lives professionally and economically because those who can will move back.
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