Global Cooperation

Despite the conflict of interests at the table, there are signs of cooperation. The United Kingdom and the Commonwealth have developed protocols to address the recruitment of healthcare workers and teachers from developing countries. As well, the General Agreement on the Trade in Services (GATS) may open the door to a more coordinated and mutually beneficial international mobility of skilled workers. The main objective of this agreement is the liberalization in the trade of services, which would ostensibly involve greater international movement of service providers. Many developing countries have a comparative advantage with their supply of inexpensive high quality labor, so such liberalization could provide a major opportunity for them, provided that the GATS terminology is nondiscriminatory and developed countries' immigration laws are in line with the agreement so as not to unnecessarily hamper the movement of skilled labor from developing countries.

As a sign of the urgent need to pay better attention to brain drain and related migration and development issues, the United Nations convened a High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development in September of 2006. Brain drain and other facets of the relationship between migration and development were discussed in order to identify appropriate ways and means to maximize its development benefits and minimize its negative impacts. These issues will be carried forward multilaterally at the new Global Forum on International Migration and Development, established at the High Level Dialogue.