USA Losing Brain Drain Benefits
Posted on July 4, 2007 Comments (5)
US should act to curb reverse brain drain, India Times:
But that trend could be arrested or reversed by a growing phenomenon: Large numbers of skilled Indian immigrants are returning home. Many of them are heading back, Wadhwa says, because of the six-to-10 years it takes for their green cards – or permanent immigrant status – to arrive. “This is a double loss for the US. One is that we lose good people. The second loss is that they will become our competitors,” he notes, adding that this is true for many Chinese, Russian and European immigrants too.
Unlike in earlier years, Wadhwa doesn’t expect the Indian government, for one, to lobby for easier green cards for its people in the US “Right now, India wants its people to come back home,” he says. “India has gone from a country which was dependent on revenues from foreign workers to one that is booming on its own. It needs all the skilled people it can get.”
I have discussed before that my belief is the USA will not continue to be able to attract as large a percentage of the highly educated and skilled scientists and engineers as they have in the last 30 years. Obviously other countries will take actions that they believe will benefit them and as times change what they seek will change – as they should. In my opinion other countries are doing a better job of encouraging investment in science and engineering excellence. The USA continues to do very well but risks having their positions deteriorate much faster than is expected (especially since some don’t seem to expect any relative deterioration) as others continue to make great strides.
The USA has taken for granted the many advantages of hosting scientific, engineering and related entrepreneurship excellence. As other locations establish centers that can draw the best minds and capital they will get the benefits the USA has grown to expect. Countries that aim to gain these benefits are doing the right thing. And the USA continues to make good progress (the biggest comparative advantage the USA has now is in entrepreneurism and the combination of technology and business) but the competitions continues to grow stronger and the level of performance to remain at the top continues to increase. And if the USA doesn’t respond with appropriate investments and action it will suffer economically.
Related: Diplomacy and Science Research – USA Under-counting Engineering Graduates – Science, Engineering and the Future of the American Economy – Science and Engineering in Global Economics – Engineering and Entrepreneurism