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Reverse brain drain: Economic shifts lure migrants home

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China has the world's largest diaspora, but as it has emerged as a global power – along with the other so-called BRIC nations Brazil, Russia, and India – the government has made a new push to woo back the millions of citizens who had left the country over the past 30 years. The array of financial and other incentives to tempt them home is unmatched anywhere else in the world and is proving to be the icing on the cake of economic growth and opportunity that Chinese expatriates are rushing home to devour: The number of people coming home each year, rather than staying on to work in their host country, has risen more than 10-fold since the beginning of the century.

Brazil is also drawing its expatriates home, and coming with them are many Europeans, a major role reversal between Europe and its "old colonies" of Latin America, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.

The number of foreigners living legally in Brazil rose by more than 50 percent between 2010 and April 2012, many of them from Portugal, making it a nation of immigration, after years of sustained emigration.

"What we are seeing is what appears to be European skilled migration to developing countries, like BRIC countries," says Ryszard Cholewinski, a specialist on migration policy at the International Labor Organization. "Given the economic crisis in Europe," he says, especially for young people in southern Europe, "opportunity for them now exists in the developing world."

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