Flagging prospects and a lumbering US bureaucracy are pushing away talented immigrants back home to India and China after 40 years of a major brain drain, the author of a new study says.
“Over the past four decades, India and China suffered a major brain drain as tens of thousands of talented
people made their way here, dreaming the American dream,” says Vivek Wadhwa, author of the study.
“But burgeoning new economies abroad and flagging prospects in the United States have changed everything,” notes the Indian-American technology entrepreneur turned academic in an article in the Washington Post on Sunday.
“And as opportunities pull immigrants home, the lumbering US immigration bureaucracy helps push them away,” said the Delhi-born senior research associate at Harvard Law School and executive in residence at Duke University.
“When smart young foreigners leave these shores, they take with them the seeds of tomorrow’s innovation,” he said noting, “Almost 25 per cent of all international patent applications filed from the US in 2006 named foreign nationals as inventors.”
Immigrants founded a quarter of all US engineering and technology companies started between 1995 and 2005, including half of those in Silicon Valley. In 2005 alone, immigrants’ businesses generated $52 billion in sales and employed 4,50,000 workers.
“Yet rather than welcome these entrepreneurs, the US government is confining many of them to a painful purgatory,” Wadhwa said.