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Indians boosting New Jersey's economy

india Updated: Dec 18, 2006 14:45 IST
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Indian and Chinese workers are giving New Jersey's highly educated workforce a new dimension and boosting the local economy, say experts.

Speakers at a conference titled 'Movement of Global Talent: the impact of high-skill labour flows from India and China' organised by the Princeton University said highly educated workers from the two countries are now commonplace in some New Jersey industries.

Carl E Van Horne, director of the John J Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, said skilled workers from India and China are New Jersey's main attraction for companies weighing the pros and cons of whether to locate in the state or elsewhere.

"If the battle for talent is what's really essential," he said, "then increasing the (number of) highly talented immigrants should be the central component of our battle plan."

The consensus at the conference was that skilled workers from India and China are so important that the state should take steps to ensure that the flow of arrivals continues - such as lobbying, increasing the number of temporary work visas, according to northjersey.com.

Though Indian and Chinese workers account for just three percent of New Jersey's workforce, they account for five per cent of the state's college-educated workers, said Rachel Friedberg, a Brown University economist.

One in eight holders of doctorates in New Jersey is from Indian or China, she said.

And Indians are twice as likely as New Jersey workers to have a college degree or higher education, she added.

Moreover, one in four medical scientists in the state comes from either the two countries, as do just under one in four software engineers, Friedberg said.

However, critics said that Indian and Chinese skilled workers are taking away well-paying jobs from Americans and argue that companies like them because they do the same job for less pay.

"Many of the foreign workers are far less skilled than they claim," said John Miano, one of the critics.

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