EU scheme 'will worsen brain drain'

A proposed European Union (EU) scheme to attract highly skilled migrants risks draining poor countries of essential staff, say officials and aid agencies.

A proposed European Union (EU) scheme to attract highly skilled migrants risks draining poor countries of essential staff, say officials and aid agencies.

The planned "blue card" scheme - similar to the United States' "green card" - aims at making the EU more attractive in a battle with other Western countries for technology workers and hospital staff.

But experts say it will increase an existing brain drain from developing countries and make it more difficult for them to improve their national health.

Payments sent back by foreign workers to their home countries provide financial support for many families. However, many say the overall effect of the brain drain is corrosive.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has called the process a "deteriorating spiral".

If agreed by the EU states, the blue card would offer candidates with a fast-track procedure to obtain work permits. It faces resistance from some countries reluctant to let the EU have a say in migration policies. - Reuters

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