This article analyses the discourses produced at the international level on skilled migration, a phenomenon that has since decades raised strong economic, moral and political dilemmas. It examines the proposals put forward by international organizations to better regulate skilled migration and avoid ‘brain drain’ effects, seeking to understand their internal logic, their contradictions, and their ideological assumptions. These discourses are marked by a tension between neoliberal support to skilled migration and ‘humanitarian’ concerns with the situation of leftbehind populations. In this context, the aim of international organization is to conciliate, at least at the discursive level, these divergent positions and create a global consensus to legitimate their role and their policy recommendations. Yet, this leads to a sort of depoliticisation of migration issues.
Keywords: Brain drain, skilled migration, international organizations, discourse, development.