The Emigration Potential of Skilled Zimbabweans: Perceptions, Current Migration Patterns, Trends and Policy Responses.
MetadataShow full item record
The movement of skilled professionals from developing countries like Zimbabwe to industrialised countries is taking place at an alarming rate, and there is little evidence that these flows will decrease in the near future. Serious concerns have been raised by developing countries as they argue that they are losing most of their skilled human resource base, which is a precondition for economic development. They further contend that they invest in the education of professionals whose knowledge and expertise are being tapped by developed countries while their economies continue to suffer from shortages of such personnel. These concerns form a sound basis for academic enquiry into the subject. The thesis draws on research work that was conducted between January 2001 and September 2002. The study aimed to establish the emigration potential of skilled Zimbabweans and to examine the current migration patterns, trends and to analyse policy responses. Data collection for the study was divided into two phases. The first part of the study focussed on the emigration potential of skilled Zimbabweans while the second part focussed on the migration of health professionals from Zimbabwe. Qualitative methods were also used to provide additional information for the study. The research findings highlight the causes, magnitude and effects of migration of skilled personnel to Zimbabwe’s economy. The first survey provides evidence that skilled Zimbabwean professionals have a high emigration potential, with up to 86% of the surveyed population considering migrating to another country. The study established that the causes of emigration of professionals from Zimbabwe can be ranked as (a) cost of living; (b) level of taxation; (c) availability of quality affordable products; and (d) level of income. The second survey demonstrates the magnitude and the causes of migration of health professionals from the country. The number of registered health professionals either increased marginally (in the case of doctors) or fell significantly (in the case of nurses) during the period studied. The study documented the effects of migration on the workload of the remaining health professionals. Health institutions in disadvantaged rural areas are continuously losing staff to those located in urban areas which have a lesser workload and better working conditions. Consequently, this trend has made it necessary for less qualified staff to carry out specialised duties in rural areas. The research shows that the poor have been the worst affected by the migration of health professionals since they cannot afford the fees charged at private clinics. Based on the research findings, the study recommends a speedy resolution to the current economic and political crisis as a long term solution to curb the migration of skilled professionals from Zimbabwe. The country can also adopt a brain export strategy in which it heavily supports investment in education to offset the losses through emigration whilst benefiting from the remittances sent back by the emigrants abroad. The results of the study are hoped to help policymakers in implementing effective human resource management strategies.