Britain’s Neglected Diaspora

Go Lean Commentary

Oh, how the mighty has fallen!

It is not only the Third World that struggles with brain drain. According to the foregoing news article, Great Britain, one of the world’s richest economies, also has a problem keeping their highly skilled workers as home. Accordingly, the article reports that there are over 5 million British expatriates living abroad.

Title: Message to the British Diaspora: “… and don’t come back”

CU Blog - Britain's neglected diaspora - Photo 1

Sub-title: Some 5 million Britons live abroad. The country could do far more to exploit its high-flying expats

When British politicians talk about winning the “global economic race” (as they often do) they have athletes like Gregor Wilson in mind. Mr. Wilson taught himself to code as a child. He started and built his first company while at university and sold it on graduating. His second venture, a software firm, is booming and will soon be ready to take on more staff. He is also preparing to leave Britain for good.

In the popular imagination, British expats are leathery retirees in the Mediterranean. But from 2006 onwards the weak pound, the bursting of Spain’s property bubble and rising taxes in France made the costas less attractive. The number of old Britons emigrating annually has more than halved since then. Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat, part of the high-street bank, says that a different breed of emigrant is now on the march: the ambitious graduate bound for North America or Asia.

CU Blog - Britain's neglected diaspora - Photo 2The sharpest rise has been among those moving to the glittering East (see chart). Mr Wilson will build his business in Hong Kong. The web, along with the reach of the English language and the cachet of a British degree, gives young people like him opportunities undreamed-of by their parents’ generation. They are also un-tethered for longer: on average, they buy a house and form a family later in life than did previous generations. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, since the eve of the economic crisis, emigration is down by 19% overall but up by 8% among 15- to 24-year-olds.

High housing costs help to drive young folk abroad. For the monthly rent on a rabbit hutch anywhere near central London, graduates live grandly elsewhere. “We can afford to travel around Australia, rent an apartment with a sea view and save some money,” explains Emma, a publisher and recent Oxford graduate who moved to Melbourne last year. Those with advanced degrees are especially likely to leave for countries where pay and research facilities are better.

This is regrettable. Britain’s productivity rate is puny; firms and factories badly need such skilled employees. But it is also an opportunity—which the country is squandering.

According to the World Bank, the British diaspora (at nearly 5m people, roughly the size of Scotland) is the largest of any rich country and the eighth biggest overall. Britain’s many expats could strengthen its trading links, channel investment into its economy and generally burnish the national brand. But Britain’s government seems to have “no coherent strategy” for engaging with them, says Alan Gamlen of the Oxford Diasporas Programme, a research unit at OxfordUniversity.

Of 193 UN member states, 110 have formal programmes to build links with citizens abroad. Britain is not one of them. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s database of Britons abroad is patchy. Of all the high-flying expats with British passports your correspondent asks, only one—Danny Sriskandarajah, a migration expert based in South Africa—has had any contact with local embassies or with UKTI, Britain’s trade-promotion body. And his Indian friend has received much more attention from his consulate.

Indeed, India is a trailblazer in this field. It has an entire ministry for its emigrants. Mr. Gamlen says it partly has this to thank for the success of its IT industry, built by Indians lured home from Silicon Valley and Europe. Other countries are similarly welcoming. Italy and France even reserve parliamentary seats for their diasporas.

The British government would probably have to work harder than most to sustain ties with the country’s expats. Britons are relatively good at melting into other countries without trace. They are a individualistic bunch, have Commonwealth links and a native language that often makes it easy to integrate.

Kiwi seeds
New Zealand offers a good model for Britain’s hands-off diplomats to emulate. Wellington has spent 30 years encouraging firms and philanthropists to root out Kiwis abroad. Its proudest achievement is the Kiwi Expat Association, a public-private partnership that supports and connects overseas New Zealanders through social media and networking events, and helps them return home if they so wish. Britain might also make it easier to bring spouses into the country. Expats who want to move back with their non-British partners often collide with their home country’s ever-tougher immigration regime.

If Britain does not want its talented globetrotters, others do. Germany actively recruits Britons to take apprenticeships there. Middle Eastern governments tour British universities doling out visas. Mr. Wilson was contacted out of the blue by the Chinese authorities, who invited him to relocate his firm and offered to pay for his flight. “America and China seem really keen to attract us,” he says. “Britain just doesn’t seem that interested.”
The Economist Magazine – (Posted 08/09/2014) –

The analysis is straight forward, this is Globalization 101. In a global economy, the economic rules of supply and demand are magnified globally. Highly skilled individuals are a commodity that is in demand, customers for that commodity emerged from all corners of the earth.

For the Caribbean, the lessons are very pointed, the exacerbated brain drain, estimated at 70%, with one country Guyana registering a 81% ratio, will not go away on its own. There must be a concerted effort of mitigations and solutions to remediate the problem. The book Go Lean…Caribbean is the concerted mitigation effort on behalf of the Caribbean region. The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).

This roadmap is for the elevation of Caribbean society, including the Diaspora. There is no laissez-faire attitude toward this population, there are specific missions to impact the Diaspora into the effort to empower the Caribbean. In fact, the prime directives of the CU are presented as the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The book posits that, just like Great Britain in the foregoing article, the Caribbean is in crisis with this brain drain problem. This point is stressed early in the book (Page 13) in the following pronouncements in the Declaration of Interdependence:

 xix.   Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

xx.   Whereas the results of our decades of migration created a vibrant Diaspora in foreign lands, the Federation must organize interactions with this population into structured markets. Thus allowing foreign consumption of domestic products, services and media, which is a positive trade impact. These economic activities must not be exploited by others’ profiteering but rather harnessed by Federation resources for efficient repatriations.

This commentary previously related details of the vibrant Caribbean Diaspora, such as the causes of emigration, efforts to reduce the “push-and-pull” factors and the region’s continuous interaction with the “exile community”, in these earlier Go Lean blogs: American “Pull” Factors – Crisis in Black Homeownership American “Pull” Factors – STEM Jobs Are Filling Slowly British public sector workers strike over ‘poverty pay’ Book Review: ‘Prosper Where You Are Planted’ Caribbean loses more than 70 percent of tertiary educated to brain drain PayPal expands payment services to 10 markets Remittances to Caribbean Increased By 3 Percent in 2013 Traditional 4-year College Degree are Terrible Investments for the Caribbean Region Having Less Babies is Bad for the   Economy Trade/Foreign Mission Offices – Why not … a profit center?

Losing a portion of  any population is bad for any economy. But losing large portions of a skilled population, is worst still as it creates a debilitating brain drain.

So how do we, in the Caribbean, find success when even John Bull (metonym referring to England) has failed? The foregoing article identifies a best practice: Diaspora outreach. This plan requires capturing a database of all Caribbean Diaspora and their legacies, a natural feature of the social media site.

The Go Lean roadmap spells out the full details of the plan to engage the Diaspora residing, working, and studying in foreign lands. (Many students study abroad and never return “home”). The goal is to expand trade and absolutely-positively encourage a repatriation to their Caribbean homelands.

The CU will surely not abandon their Caribbean expatriates, even though these ones may have abandoned the Caribbean.

In line with the foregoing article, the Go Lean book details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster the best practices in Diaspora outreach, thus furthering interaction with far-flung Caribbean stakeholders:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influences Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – The Consequences of Choice Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Manage Reconciliations Page 34
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Mission – Repatriate Diaspora Page 46
Strategy – Customers – Diaspora Page 47
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Department of State – Foreign Affairs Page 80
Implementation – Year 1 / Assemble Phase Page 96
Implementation – Year 4 / Repatriate Phase Page 98
Implementation – Improve Mail Services – e-Mail for Diaspora Page 108
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Ways to Impact Social Media Page 111
Implementation – Trade Mission   Objectives Page 117
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate Page 118
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization Page 119
Planning – Ways to Improve Trade Page 128
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Education Page 159
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Impact British Territories Page 245
Appendix – Analysis of Caribbean Diaspora by Country of Residence Page 267
Appendix – Analysis of Caribbean Remittances Page 268
Appendix – Analysis of Caribbean Emigration Page 269
Appendix – Alternative Remittance Modes Page 270
Appendix – Puerto Rican Diaspora Population in the US Page 304

This roadmap focuses on the Caribbean, arguably the world’s best address, not Great Britain, a less than tropical, less than paradisiacal land . Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the changes in this Go Lean … Caribbean roadmap.

This is a big deal for the region. This roadmap is not just a plan, its a prescription for what ails the region; it advocates for the CU to serve as a delivery vehicle to carry the hopes and dreams of generations of Caribbean residents…and Diaspora.

The region needs this delivery; the region needs this cure. The region needs this roadmap to be a better place to live, work and play.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


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