“Our conclusion was that the U.S. is setting the stage for a massive reverse brain-drain,” he wrote “If we wait 5 years for immigration reform, the illegal and unskilled will still be here, but those that contribute significantly to U.S. competitiveness will be long gone.” – Vivek Wadhwa
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – If the United States doesn’t make changes in its immigration policy soon, frustrated entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors just may say no to doing business here.
At least that’s the opinion of Vivek Wadhwa and other researchers who have been mining data on the contributions and challenges foreign-born technologists make to the U.S. economy.
“Our research has shown that things are moving faster than our ability to understand out whether outsourcing is good or bad,” writes Wadhawa. Wadhwa, the executive in residence at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, has accepted a fellowship to the Harvard Law School and will work with them as a “non-resident scholar” for the next year. He also is working with The Kauffman Foundation on the latest report.
Here’s a portion of what they have to say:
“While we debate the merits and impact of globalization the trend is gaining momentum. With breathtaking speed, India and its legions of well-trained, English-speaking technical talent are making impressive strides as a base of innovation for multinationals. From writing software and tweaking specs for auto parts just a few years ago, Indian engineers now are starting to design entire next-generation products for a who’s who of multinationals, from Boeing and General Motors to Texas Instruments. Meanwhile, China swiftly is amassing the requirements of a technology superpower: Modern research facilities, immense manufacturing infrastructure, universities capable of pumping out hundreds of thousands of engineers and scientists each year, and the world’s biggest consumer market for cars, consumer appliances, and telecom equipment…”
Much of the work being done by Wadhwa and others has focused on the immigrants trying to get “green cards” for U.S. residence or those trying to enter the country through programs set aside for tech workers. Wadhwa said the green card wait list is “much higher” than his original estimates of 200,000 to 300,000. Many of them just may throw up their hands and leave to use their knowledge elsewhere.
What Wadhwa said next is very alarming.
“Our conclusion was that the U.S. is setting the stage for a massive reverse brain-drain,” he wrote “If we wait 5 years for immigration reform, the illegal and unskilled will still be here, but those that contribute significantly to U.S. competitiveness will be long gone.”