What Is Brain Drain? What Are the Causes and Suggestions for It in The Context of Pakistan?

What Is Brain Drain? What Are the Causes and Suggestions for It in The Context of Pakistan?

The following article, “What Is Brain Drain? What Are the Causes and Suggestions for It in The Context of Pakistan?“, is written by Baber Ali, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

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1- Introduction

Brain drain is the migration of skilled manpower to foreign countries. The countries suffering turmoil are likely to face a brain drain. In the context of Pakistan, the rise in prices and unemployment are at the top of the menace. However, reducing costs, creating more job opportunities, and promoting a merit-based system can help the country tackle the brain drain issue.

2- Debunking the term “Brain Drain”

3- Brain Drain in Pakistan: A critical overview

  • ✓Impacting the socio-economic progress of Pakistan
  • ✓According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the rate of brain drain in Pakistan is, being seven per cent as compared to 2.9 per cent for India
  • ✓Saudi Arabia, being a second home to Pakistani immigrants

4- Causes of brain drain in Pakistan

  • ✓The outrageous wave of inflation countrywide
  • ✓Qualified personnel being unemployed
  • ✓Unsatisfactory amount of wages
  • ✓Discrimination in appointment and promotion

5- Suggestions for brain drain in Pakistan

  • ✓To tackle inflation
  • ✓To create job opportunities
  • ✓To raise salaries
  • ✓To promote a merit-based system
  • ✓To provide quality education

6- Critical Analysis
7- Conclusion

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Answer to the Question


“Brain Drain” means the migration of skilled or semi-skilled personnel to a foreign country to pursue economic, social, or political interests. The countries suffering turmoil are likely to face human capital flight. Unfortunately, in the case of Pakistan, the adverse impacts of brain drain have overpowered its positive aspects. However, many factors have worked as catalysts to increase the percentage of brain drain. The factors include rising prices, unemployment of qualified persons, discrimination in the appointment and promotion process, and lower salaries. Fortunately, Pakistan can eradicate it with specific pragmatic and result-driven steps, such as controlling inflation, creating job opportunities, and promoting a merit-based system. Despite so many cons, the remittances provided through it can boost the country’s economic development.

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Debunking the term brain drain

Initially, the term brain drain was coined by “The British Royal Society” to describe the movement of human capital from Europe to the United States of America (USA) and Canada. The proper work on it was started in the 1950s by different scholars. Further, it means the migration of intellectuals from their native country to a foreign country to pursue their interests. The interest can be social, political, or religious. Moreover, it is a “Zero Sum Game.” Simply put, one country’s gain is the loss of another country. For instance, a scientist migrating to another leaves a vacuum that takes a long time to fill. Historically, brain drain used to occur from rural to urban areas. Hence, the word brain drain is an ancient concept.

Brain drain in Pakistan: A critical overview

At present, brain drain has proved to be disastrous for third-world countries like Pakistan. It has been impacting the country socially, economically, and politically to a worse extent. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan’s brain drain rate is seven per cent compared to 2.9 per cent for India. The percentage is increasing with every passing day due to the shaky conditions of the country. Moreover, the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is home to many Pakistani migrants among all the nations. As revealed by the Pakistani Startup, forty-five per cent of Pakistani migrants are in the Middle East. As a result, Pakistan, due to the vast number of labourers in Saudi Arabia, is facing a shortage of skilled labour. Thus, the human capital flight is ruining the country’s socio-economic fabric by depriving it of its own human capital. Therefore, the increasing percentage of the menace in the country must be highlighted.

Causes of Brain Drain in Pakistan

Since the inception of Pakistan, some phenomena have been prevalent in every evil it faces. Accordingly, the same factors are also commonplace in the issue of brain drain. Among the most potent causes, severe inflation stands at the top. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report 2023, “The rate of inflation in Pakistan is 29.18 per cent.” With the dawn of every passing day, the outrageous hike in the price of standard goods hurts the locals, compelling them to think about migration. Next to it, the unemployment of qualified personnel makes them flee from their native country. Every year, hundreds of thousands of students graduate from different universities; however, getting a job in Pakistan is like snatching meat from the lion’s mouth. Lastly, discrimination in appointment and promotion is a catalyst for the brain drain. Among the causes, the second most prominent one is discrimination of all sorts. In short, many factors contribute to raising the number of brain drains.

What Pakistan has done to tackle the crisis

The country’s efforts in tackling the issue’s dilemma must not be ignored. Continuously, with the coordination of provinces, the government has introduced many policies, encouraging people to work within the country rather than going to foreign states. Annually, the government of Pakistan increases the salary of its employees by 15 to 20 per cent; additionally, the government of Sindh also raises its employees’ wages by 30 to 40 per cent. Moreover, the government of Pakistan has fixed the monthly salary for unskilled workers to an amount not less than 32000 rupees. The reason behind such an increment is to enable people to overcome inflation. Despite taking such remedial measures, the country can still not achieve satisfactory results.

Suggestions for brain drain in Pakistan

All hope is not lost. As every problem comes with a solution, the same is true for the menace of brain drain. First, tackling inflation can help a country to overcome many issues, particularly brain drain. Second, creating job opportunities by providing a better working environment for businesses. Third, promoting a merit-based system would provide competent people for a job. Fourth, providing quality education can also help mitigate the menace of brain drain. Lastly, increasing salaries and wages would be adequate to curb the root of the issue. Therefore, adopting and implementing the abovementioned steps can help the country overcome the brain drain problem; ultimately, the government would progress socially and economically. Hence, the country would stand on its own.

Critical Analysis

In robust diagnosis, it is evident from the aforementioned facts that the issue of brain drain is a mixed blessing. According to the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan received remittances of 29.87 billion dollars in the fiscal year 2022. The stats explain that overseas Pakistanis are an asset to the country. Moreover, the government has no sufficient jobs to employ its youth, as evidenced by the number of unemployed persons in the country, which is 5.6 million. However, in the case of third-world countries like Pakistan, its adverse impacts overshadow its positive ones. The percentage of brain drain has been increasing with every passing day, and severe actions against it are needed. In addition, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has devised numerous policies to counter it. But the flow of it does not let policies be fully effective. For instance, the Foreign Faculty Hiring Program (FFHP) – initiated in 2003 – has only attracted 1500 diaspora. Thus, tackling the menace is a dire need for Pakistan to move on as a developing country.


To sum up, brain drain is not new; it is as old as humanity. Accordingly, the world’s developed economies attract many foreigners by providing incentives and scholarships to work for their cause. Such acts are taking the intellectuals of other developing and under-developed countries and making them suffer in every aspect of life. Furthermore, Pakistan needs educated and skilled personnel in every sphere. Knowledgeable and skilled men can lead Pakistan towards unsurpassable development like developed countries. Therefore, turning brain drain into gain is a herculean task for Pakistan without proper planning. Thus, a robust governance system, having all positive traits, is the need of the hour.

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