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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Bloggings On Immigration Law And Policy

by Greg Siskind

Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Greg Siskind's blog.

March 03, 2009

THE BRAIN FLUSH

As in flushed away. Harvard Professor Vivek Wadwa has released a very interesting report in which he interviewed 1200 skilled and professional workers who left the United States to return to their home countries. And what emerges is a picture of talent workers who came to the US for education and training who then are finding better opportunities in their home countries. More than half of those returning home are planning on starting businesses. Why should we care? From the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

Research from an earlier Kauffman Foundation study showed that immigrants historically have provided one of America’s greatest competitive advantages. Between 1990 and 2007, the proportion of immigrants in the U.S. labor force increased from 9.3 percent to 15.7 percent, and a large and growing proportion of immigrants bring high levels of education and skill to the United States. Immigrants have contributed disproportionately in the most dynamic part of the U.S. economy — the high-tech sector — and immigrant inventors contributed to more than 25 percent of U.S. global patent applications. Immigrant-founded companies based in the United States employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in revenue in 2006.

“While some have tried to associate the increase in foreign workers over recent years with the economic problems that have plagued the country, this data verifies the opposite effect,” Wadhwa said in the release. “If the U.S. government and the business community could find better ways to offer good jobs in tandem with less restrictive visa policies for talented immigrants, the U.S. might be able to recapture many of these immigrants and their potential to help grow the U.S. economy.”

Those who push policies of trying to drive skilled and professional workers out of the country are helping worsen both our short term economic picture and the long term prospects for the US remaining the world's top economy. American jobs are NOT protected by protectionism.

You can download the report here.