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Highly‐skilled Colombian immigrants in Spain: Do they have to return home to start up in business?

Francisco Javier Matiz Bulla (EAN University, Bogotá, Colombia)
Esther Hormiga (University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




The purpose of this paper is to understand why high‐skilled immigrants from a developing country (Colombia) are returning to their home country to create businesses instead of starting up in their host country (Spain).


A case study methodology was used to present the experiences of three high‐skilled immigrants. All subjects presented had migrated from Colombia to Spain, held degrees from a Colombian university, had a university background in entrepreneurship and intended to run a business in Colombia instead of in Spain.


This study shows how the expectations of highly‐skilled immigrants can influence their decision to return to their home country to set up in business. Because of their skills and international experience, these individuals have good professional prospects in their home countries and a lower tolerance of the barriers and difficulties encountered in the host country than immigrants with other profiles.

Research limitations/implications

In exploring the high‐skilled immigrants' reasons for returning home, future research should pay more attention to personal motivations and cultural differences.

Practical implications

The findings will enable policy makers in developing and developed countries to improve policies for attracting or retaining highly‐skilled immigrants or emigrants, especially those with entrepreneurial intentions.


In a group of immigrants whose skills and talents could offer considerable added value either to their host country or to their home country, this paper examines some of the key processes that influence their decision of where to locate their entrepreneurial activity.



Matiz Bulla, F.J. and Hormiga, E. (2011), "Highly‐skilled Colombian immigrants in Spain: Do they have to return home to start up in business?", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 5, pp. 448-461.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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