Venezuela and the brain drain: the other perspective of the crisis

With the intensification of the crisis in Venezuela, economic and political conditions force young people to leave their country to obtain a better future

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Leer en español: Venezuela y la fuga de cerebros: la otra perspectiva de la crisis

In addition to the humanitarian and economic crisis, there is uncertainty about what Venezuela will have in the future. Since the proclamation of Juan Guaidó as interim President of the country on January 23 of this year, there are divided opinions on what will happen in the future of Venezuela. Countries such as the United States, Colombia, Argentina, Spain, Germany, and Australia, among others, recognize the interim President, while Iran, China, Russia, Turkey, and Bolivia continue to recognize Nicolás Maduro as the legitimate President of the country.

Being a divided state, with two presidents and a deep crisis, Venezuela has suffered in recent years from another phenomenon that forces its young people to leave the national territory to seek better life opportunities in other destinations. According to a study by the National University of Entre Rios of Uruguay, the phenomenon of brain drain occurs when individuals who have been trained migrate to other countries for the purpose of pursuing their studies or have a better quality of life in another territory. alien to his own nationality.

Three million brains on the run?

In the Venezuelan case, approximately 3 million people left their territory by the end of 2018, according to figures from BBC Mundo. Within this figure, it is highlighted that the majority arrive in countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States. Some lucky people had the opportunity to rebuild their lives through family or connections in the countries of reception, however, in the vast majority of cases, it is evident how trained professionals end up exercising completely alternative tasks, such as street vending.

According to Tomás Páez, Coordinator of the Global Project on the issue of the Venezuelan Diaspora, "comparing what Latin America has done with respect to what Europe has done, which has better economic conditions, is irrelevant, which is why Latin America It is an example of mutual collaboration."

This collaboration is evidenced through the figures of Venezuelans received in different countries of Latin America. According to a study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute, Colombia has been the country that has received the most migrants, where it is estimated that it would be 1.5 million. Similarly, if we analyze the demographic distribution of Venezuelan immigrants in Colombian territory, 70.6% would be at an ideal age of active employment, which would be 25-40 years of age. On the other hand, with respect to the demographic distribution of Venezuelans in other countries of Latin America, countries such as Brazil show that 71% of the population would be under the same age range and in the case of Costa Rica, it would be 80%. %.

Read also: The Venezuelan gold route: the wild card of Maduro's government

Considering that the majority of Venezuelans are at an ideal age to work, around 56% would be professionals or previously trained individuals who in most cases do not work related to their profession, according to Bloomberg, 2018. According to the same portal, 66,000 of these professionals are doctors, most of whom do not practice because they do not have the required credentials in legal terms to be able to work on their training.

The economic problems of emigration

The brain drain is certainly a phenomenon that is considered problematic and exacerbates the crisis in Venezuela, since it represents a loss in monetary terms for the government, the investment that has been made so that individuals have been educated is lost at the moment these decide to exercise in another destination. On the other hand, it is also a loss in terms of human capital, since there is a decline in the number of qualified individuals in the different areas that require a degree of preparation for the jobs available.

In the case of receiving countries, it is evident how they receive a large number of qualified individuals, who are willing to obtain lower incomes to the individuals residing in the receiving country. In this way, it would increase its human capital. However, in the Venezuelan case, due to a large number of people who are leaving their country of origin, it is shown that although they are qualified, they end up performing tasks that do not require prior academic preparation, which is why they would move to the workforce of the country of origin.

However, Migration Colombia shows that by 2018, about 442,462 migrants did not have the required permits to work and have crossed the border through multiple points in the last 16 months. Therefore, if there were more efficient regulatory conditions, countries such as Colombia could take advantage of the skills of these qualified Venezuelan migrants, such as cooking with appliances like air fryers, grills, stoves, etc., besides many other skills including wood working, masonry, professional services etc for mutual benefit of everyone.


LatinAmerican Post | Alejandra Caballero

Trnslated from "Venezuela y la fuga de cerebros: la otra perspectiva de la crisis"