Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

In the context of migration, the term brain drain must be distinguished from that of brain gain: “Brain drain is the loss suffered by a region [or country] as a result of the emigration of a (highly) qualified [or skilled] person, while brain gain is when a country benefits as a consequence of immigration of a highly qualified person.” (Srivastava 2020, n.p.)

Brain drain is increasingly being fostered through the creation of advice centers for migrants in host countries (see Tandian 2023), yet it is a loss to the countries of origin. In the short to medium term (e.g., 1–5 years) brain drain reduces the human capital of a region or country, as it takes time and resources to train people unless emigrating people are replaced by immigrants with similar skills. In the long term (e.g., 5–10 years) brain drain could be managed by training and education of those who have not migrated, and again by immigration.

⇢ see also Highly skilled migrant, Labor migration, Migration

References and further reading:

Srivastava, Shubhaangi. 2020. “Brain Drain vs. Brain Gain.” Assembly of European Regions. URL:

Tandian, Aly. 2023. “Germany’s New Migration Policy Could Take Away Vital Talent from Several African Countries.” The Conversation. February 28, 2023. URL:

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

[AT / MM]