Posted by: Tony Carson | 24 August, 2007

US and its ‘reverse brain-drain’

The toxic mix of xenophobia and paranoia that has seeped into US policy since 9/11 is having a corrosive impact on the US economy.

First it was at US colleges where fewer and fewer foreign students were being allowed in. Then it decimated immigration. Then even visiting experts and scholars were stopped at the border. And now the statistics are revealing just what an impact the fear of another  9/11 is having on the country.

In an AFP article entitled Tougher US immigration leading to ‘reverse brain-drain’ we get some stats from a study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation :

• more than one million potential immigrants, including scientists, engineers, doctors and researchers, are competing for just 120,000 permanent US resident visas each year.

• some applicants must wait several years, in part because the number of employment visas issued to immigrants from any single country is fewer than 10,000 per year.

• a majority of immigrant company founders, including many in the tech sector, came to the United States as students. Many ended up staying in the United States after graduation, with a number founding new companies.

•  31 percent of the startups in tech centers had an immigrant key founder, including 52.4 percent in California’s Silicon Valley.

• Indian immigrants founded more companies than those from the next four countries — Britain, China, Taiwan and Japan — combined.

• foreign nationals living in the United States were inventors or co-inventors in 25.6 percent of international patent applications filed from the United States in 2006.

• the total number of applicants and their family members waiting for permanent residence in the United States in 2006 was estimated at 1,055,084. Additionally, there were some 126,421 residents abroad waiting for visas, making a worldwide total of 1,181,505.

The US, once the laboratory for the world, is fast becoming an economic also-ran and all because of fear.

He was right, wasn’t he, that they only thing they had to fear was fear itself.


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