Be careful what you wish for

The anti-immigration folks are getting what they wished for. According to research conducted by Vivek Wadhwa at Duke and University of California Berkeley funded by the Kauffman Foundation, skilled immigrants are moving back to their home countries in droves. Because there are no statistics covering this issue, the research team conducted a detailed survey of over 1200 Indian and Chinese immigrants who had worked or received education in the U.S. and returned to their home countries, and the results are illuminating.

It’s no surprise that the surveyed immigrants’ initial motivations for coming to the U.S. was for professional and educational opportunities. It’s also not a surprise that many immigrants miss their families and friends, and run into significant language and cultural barriers. And in spite of this America has been the unquestioned land of opportunity by the rest of the world for decades.

What is surprising is how rapidly the opportunity gap between America and the rest of the world is narrowing. According to the survey, 87% of the Chinese and 62% of Indians felt they had better longer-term professional growth opportunities in their home countries than in the U.S. And this wasn’t just because the respondents had overstayed their work visas – 30% of the them were either permanent residents or citizens of the U.S.

Even though immigrants make up 12% of the U.S. population, they make up 24% of the science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, and 47% of the science and engineering workers who have PhDs. They have also co-founded some of our most successful technology firms, such as Google, Intel, eBay, and Yahoo.

This brain drain is significant, especially in light of the worsening economic conditions in the U.S. The long-term solution is a well-educated workforce that can be innovative enough to develop new technologies and rebuild the manufacturing sector.

Too bad so many Americans view immigrants as part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Ethnicmajority Workplace page.

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One Response to “Be careful what you wish for”

  1. roy bunnkowski says:

    As usual, comments by the the pro-illegals play word games and twist facts just enought to validate their point of view. I know of very few “anti-immigration folks”… but I do know many anti-ILLEGAL immigration folks. Why can’t you understand the difference?

    It’s interesting that the study mentioned focuses on Indian and Chinese immigrants — immigrants who make up 5% or less of the illegals in this country. (source: Wikipedia) If all this country was dealing with were the relatively small numbers represented by non-latino ILLEGALS, there probably wouldn’t even be much of a discussion like this going on.

    It’s also interesting to note that the reasons Indians and Chinese gave for returning home had nothing to do with discrimination but everything to do with a failing United States economy and the consequential loss of opportunities available here.

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