The real high-tech immigrant problem: They’re leaving

The hiring of immigrant high-tech workers was a heated issue well before the economy went into a tailspin. But the real worry should not be smart foreigners coming to take jobs in America, but all the bright, ambitious immigrants who are leaving the United States and returning home, especially to India and China, reports the New York Times. That is the topic of a report, "America’s Loss is the World’s Gain" to be released March 2 and authored by Vivek Wadhwa, a former technology entrepreneur who is an adjunct professor at Duke University. In the last two decades, Wadhwa estimates, 50,000 immigrants left the United States and returned to India and China. In the next five years, he projects that 100,000 more will make the return trip. "A trickle is turning into a flood," he said. Economics, not visa headaches, is the main engine of the shift, according to the two-year research project, which surveyed 1,203 Indian and Chinese workers who had studied or worked in the United States for a year or more before returning home. Growing demand for their skills and shining career opportunities back home were cited by 87 percent of the Chinese and 79 percent of the Indians as the major professional reason for returning. Most of the returnees were young–in their early 30s–and nearly 90 percent had master’s or doctorate degrees. Instead of permitting skilled immigrants to enter the United States, Wadhwa insisted, the country has to start wooing them by creating "fast-track" immigration policies and incentives to stay, as nations like Singapore and Australia have done…"

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