Central Asia in the Face of Intellectual Migration Challenges: Trends and Prospects

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-7-117-126
MGIMO University, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.
Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Law of National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, 33 Rudaki Prosp., Dushanbe, 734025, Republic of Tajikistan;
Tajik National University, 17, Rudaki Prosp., Dushanbe, 734025, Republic of Tajikistan.

Received 24.03.2021. Revised 12.05.2021. Accepted 05.05.2022.

Abstract. Intellectual migration is a key element of migration processes in Central Asia, but this topic remains insufficiently studied. In this article, the authors undertake the first attempt to comprehensively analyze the challenges of “brain drain” for the region’s countries. Conceptually, the research is based on developments in the field of migration studies, in particular on the push–pull approach, as well as the idea of relational and aspirational factors of intellectual migration. Methodologically, the study relies on discourse and documentary analysis, systems approach, statistical and survey methods. The authors discover that the topic of intellectual migration in the regional research discourse is presented fragmentarily, as its attention is mainly concentrated on international students mobility trends in the region. It is argued that state regulation of the intellectual migration in Central Asian countries has its own specific features – some are trying to use intellectual migration to stabilize the situation on national labor markets, to contain domestic protest potential, others are looking for an adequate model for turning the “brain drain” trends into “brain gain”, especially through the use of their diaspora’s resources. At the same time, the scale of educational emigration from the region shows growth patterns, which generates serious challenges for the Central Asian states, since a large proportion of foreign universities graduates from the region do not want to return to their countries. Based on the analysis of current trends, it is concluded that Central Asian states have all the economic and socio-political motives for intellectual emigration. In this context, out of the three scenarios for the development of international migration processes in Central Asia presented by the authors – a favorable scenario, a status quo scenario and a negative scenario – the latter seems to be the most probable at this stage. Accordingly, without systematic reforms and a serious approach to the problem of intellectual migration, the prospects for the implementation of the development strategies of the region’s countries will become vague, which is a challenge for their societal stability and national security.

Keywords: intellectual migration, “brain drain”, Central Asia, migration processes


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For citation:
Bahriev B., Rizoyon S. Central Asia in the Face of Intellectual Migration Challenges: Trends and Prospects. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, No 7, pp. 117-126. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-7-117-126

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