The desire to be great, to make a lasting mark, is as old as civilization itself. Today, it is no longer measured exclusively by the size of a polity's armed forces, the height of its pyramids, the luxury of its palaces, or even the wealth of its natural resources. Governments in high-income countries and emerging economies alike have come to subscribe to the view that in order to secure a position in the pantheon of excellence, it is the ability to draw human capital, to become an "IQ magnet," that counts. Across the globe, countries are vying to outbid one another in an effort to attract highly-skilled migrants, aggressively recruiting those at the top of the talent pyramid who possess what we might call super talent. This spiraling race for talent is one of the most significant developments in recalibrating international migration and mobility in today's globalizing world. Yet it has received only scant attention in academic circles despite its growing prominence in the real world of law and policy-making. In this article, we begin to close the gap. Our discussion highlights the increasingly common practice of governments "picking winners" through fast-tracked, strategic grants of citizenship for those with exceptional skills and extraordinary talent, while at the same time holding other categories of "standard" immigration applicants (those entering on the basis of family reunification, humanitarian reasons, and so on) to ever stricter admission and permission-to-stay requirements. We chart and explain these developments before turning to identify the core ethical and legal challenges they raise. The discussion concludes by exploring whether, and if so, how, these striking developments may transform the concepts of citizenship and migration in the twenty-first century.


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pp. 71-107
Launched on MUSE
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