Yemen, the Developed World, and the Brain Drain [Archives:2000/27/Viewpoint]

July 3 2000

Many companies and establishments, including Yemen Times, have suffered and will probably continue to suffer from the brain drain caused by globalization. Nowadays, it is common to hear about young, talented, educated Yemenis leaving to the USA, considering it the promised land where they will find all they need. The US Consulate in Sana’a has tried hard to prevent everyone from leaving without a strong indication that he will be coming back, however, it still can sometimes be fooled, letting away Yemenis who leave Yemen for good. Hundreds of Yemenis were able to get a green card, and US nationality just with a simple visitor’s visa. It is almost impossible to prevent or even track down these hungry Yemeni citizens who made it and reached US shores.
Today, being educated, or having expertise in a specific field is another good factor behind allowing Yemenis to have a visa to the States. We are every day feeling that the most talented and educated Yemenis leave either to the USA, or to Europe seeking a higher living standard.
Yemen Times, as was mentioned above, is one of the victims of this brain drain. We have trained, equipped, and worked hard on raising qualified intellectuals who, with their experience, can work anywhere in the world. However, these very employees pay us back by leaving and preferring the USA, all without our notice.
Is there a way to prevent this from continuing? Of course, holding the employee’s passport is one way of doing it, but it is quite easy these days to get another one by applying lots of different methods.
It is a person’s right to seek a better living, but what if these persons are the most qualified and well-trained people? How would Yemen ever continue to develop and cope with the globalization and technology revolutions taking place?
Is it our government’s responsibility? Could the US and European Embassies help prevent this from continuing? Or shall we just watch our talents leave without even saying good bye? These are some of the questions that we feel unable – or unwilling – to answer.
Walid Al-Saqqaf
Chief Editor