USA Losing Brain Drain Benefits

Posted on July 4, 2007  Comments (5)

US should act to curb reverse brain drain, India Times:

“Indians are among the best educated of all immigrant groups,” he says, adding that Indians founded more engineering and technology companies in the US in the decade up to 2005 than the next four groups combined-those from Britain, China, Taiwan and Japan. They accounted for 26 percent of all start-ups, about 117,000 jobs and $14 billion in revenue in 2005.

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 ResearchUSA Under-counting Engineering GraduatesScience, Engineering and the Future of the American EconomyScience and Engineering in Global EconomicsEngineering and Entrepreneurism

5 Responses to “USA Losing Brain Drain Benefits”

  1. Markk
    July 4th, 2007 @ 10:26 am

    Another reason is the much stricter and arduous visa system the U.S. has had in place since September 11. I remember reading somewhere (can’t remember where) that things were bad enough that conferences are increasingly being held in other countries and immigrants are skipping the US in favour of Europe to avoid the hassle.

  2. Vaandoo
    July 4th, 2007 @ 7:56 pm

    I totally agree with your view. I was kinda surprised that lots of illegal immigrants were given the opportunity to become legitimate, whereas the highly educated people were denied opportunities to pursue their career.

  3. Amir
    July 22nd, 2007 @ 5:54 am

    Being an Indian myself and an IT engineer, I never looked for opportunities which would bring to US. I always looked for Indian companies which was tapping Indian markets.

    No offense meant, now is the time not to worry about how to stop this process, but go with the flow and come to India to enjoy the benefits

  4. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » USA Losing Scientists and Engineers Education in the USA
    March 20th, 2009 @ 8:37 am

    […] USA continues to lose ground, in retaining the relative science and engineering strength it has retained for the last 50 plus […]

  5. Anonymous
    February 23rd, 2012 @ 6:43 am

    right: Another reason is the much stricter and arduous visa system the U.S. has had in place since September 11. Good Blog.

Leave a Reply