Why should we care? Because immigrants are critical to the country's long-term economic health. Despite the fact that they constitute only 12% of the U.S. population, immigrants have started 52% of Silicon Valley's technology companies and contributed to more than 25% of our global patents They make up 24% of the U.S. science and engineering workforce holding bachelor's degrees and 47% of science and engineering workers who have PhDs. Immigrants have co-founded firms such as Google (GOOG), Intel (INTC), eBay (EBAY), and Yahoo! (YHOO).
[...] the bank bailout legislation includes language to discourage banks from recruiting skilled foreigners on work visas.
It seems to be a political gesture, understandable and probably empty. "Citibank and the others aren’t hiring, they’re firing," Vivek Wadhwa, a former technology entrepreneur who is an adjunct professor at Duke University, said in an interview Sunday. "It has no practical effect, other than to make a couple of senators feel good. But it’s a stupid message to send."
In the last two decades, Mr. 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.
As the debate over H-1B workers and skilled immigrants intensifies, we are losing sight of one important fact: The U.S. is no longer the only land of opportunity. If we don't want the immigrants who have fueled our innovation and economic growth, they now have options elsewhere. Immigrants are returning home in greater numbers. And new research shows they are returning to enjoy a better quality of life, better career prospects, and the comfort of being close to family and friends.
who are these people? businessweek continues:
Our new paper, "America's Loss Is the World's Gain," finds that the vast majority of these returnees were relatively young. The average age was 30 for Indian returnees, and 33 for Chinese. They were highly educated, with degrees in management, technology, or science. Fifty-one percent of the Chinese held master's degrees and 41% had PhDs. Sixty-six percent of the Indians held a master's and 12.1% had PhDs. They were at very top of the educational distribution for these highly educated immigrant groups—precisely the kind of people who make the greatest contribution to the U.S. economy and to business and job growth.
Nearly a third of the Chinese returnees and a fifth of the Indians came to the U.S. on student visas. A fifth of the Chinese and nearly half of the Indians entered on temporary work visas (such as the H-1B). The strongest factor that brought them to the U.S. was professional and educational development opportunities.
excellent job! ship them back so that we have all the jobs here - that would be the reaction I am sure I will see in the comments.
The NYT goes on
[...] "Addressing this issue is going to entail more than solving the visa problem," said Mr. Wadhwa, referring to the waiting list of 1 million H-1B visa holders and their families who are seeking longer-term work visas.
Instead of permitting skilled immigrants to enter the United States, Mr. 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.
[...] from 1995 to 2005, and 52 percent of Silicon Valley start-ups. These immigrant-founded companies employed 450,000 workers in 2006
Have at it. There is a very interesting back and forth with the researcher here called Backwards brain drain:
Do you see something like a Silicon Valley now really taking off in India?
Go to New Delhi, go to Bangalore, go to even Bombay and other outposts and you'll see tremendous activity in start-ups. There is a lot of energy there, a lot of optimism there. It's like Silicon Valley used to be in the late '90's. A lot of excitement about the future and the sad thing is, in the United States, we are depressed right now, basically demoralized right now. They are very upbeat in India and in China right now