Migration policy, illegal migrants, self-selection and brain drain
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- Working papers (SNF) 
We compare two migration policies: an open migration policy, where all migrants can migrate legally; and a selective migration policy, where migrants are selected according to skills. We show that since the selective migration policy can create illegal migration, it has the following effects relatively to the open migration policy: (1) it weakens the chances of a positive self-selection of skilled migrants; (2) it reduces the possibility of a beneficial brain gain; and (3) it dampens the effectiveness of education policies. Accordingly, since illegal migration can conduce to brain waste (i.e.: skilled workers working as unskilled), the selective migration policy reduces the incentives of individuals to acquire education and of skilled workers to migrate.