Skilled Migrants - Good or Bad?

By 17:41 , , ,

Last night, I got drinks with a girl who I know from Danbury (!) who I know from the church I used to attend there who has just moved to São Paulo through GE. She worked in one of the Connecticut offices and is not working in SP with ex-pats!! Which is funny because she's the ultimate ex-pat - Brazilian who went to the US at a young age (like me!) and is now back to Brazil after 16 years.

It was fun to catch up, talk about how neither of us regret coming to Brazil one bit, how our friends who are in the same situation I was in should come, and overall what I always say in this blog... how Brazil is SO much better than the US, despite all its downfalls, for us in particular. Note I said "us" as in the two of "us." No need to get all frantic bashing Brazil in the comments, mmkay? ;-)

Discussing her position working with ex-pats it was funny to think about how there are really so many ex-pats all over the world. What's even more funny is how "ex-pat," refers to a skilled worker whereas "unskilled worker," or in Portuguese (I HATE this word), "sub-empregado" (meaning you're "sub-employed," ugh, doesn't it sound so degrading?)... I have nothing to say about that yet, but it's something to think about for your comments on this post or an upcoming post.

As much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE living here, I've come to one barrier. I have a degree from the US. In order for me to get a masters in Brazil, it needs to be approved by MEC which is the federal department of education here. I've considered getting it approved here, but just to go through the process of POSSIBLY having it approved, I need to pay a lot of money with translations, and still need documentation from my college and the Brazilian consulate in Boston. One option I was considering was to get a masters in Europe. Whenever I mention this, I'm either given a response along the lines of, "DO IT!!!" or "Ugh, there goes another qualified worker and intellectual mind to leave Brazil..." Which makes me sick. Who's to say I'm not coming back? And even more, what does that say about the people who will be left here and minds that will be enlightened by the masters programs here?! That there's a limit to qualified workers and minds in this country?

I've never had a backed up argument for this until I read a GREAT article in Foreign Policy today (it's lengthy, but a worthy read). They give every reason for skilled emigration being a BENEFIT to both the receiving and originating country. The arguments are endless ranging from the fact that oftentimes emmigrants are skilled workers the country has too many of, to high levels of remittances, and my favorite - PEOPLE DO COME BACK!!!

I would love to travel the world. Live in at least another handful of countries. But one thing I've learned over the past two years... there's no place like home. And home is where you're accepted, not discriminated, where you are considered a citizen not by merit, but by birth and/or cultural afinity, and especially where you're not considered an "ex-pat." So sitting where I am now.... I think I'll find it hard to "settle," anywhere else but here.

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