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Certain skills are in high demand in advanced economies, particularly in basic health care. Skilled migrants from developing countries are likely to fill part of that demand. This has aroused fears that migration will harm development, by draining both human and financial resources from the countries migrants leave.

This paper reviews and critiques existing policy proposals to address the development effects of skilled migration. It then proposes a new kind of policy tool to regulate skilled migration in a way that benefits origin countries, destination countries, and migrants: Global Skill Partnerships. These are bilateral public-private agreements to link skill creation and skill mobility in a mutually beneficial and equitable way. Countries of migrant origin and destination agree ex ante who will bear the costs of training skilled migrants, and allow a small portion of the large economic gains from skill mobility to foster skill creation in origin countries.

The paper describes how such an agreement might work in one profession (nursing) and one region (North Africa). Numerous related initiatives around the world offer lessons for proper design.

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