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China Is Suffering a Brain Drain, But Few Are Emigrating to America

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Some Chinese emigrants say it is difficult to get a U.S. work visa.

Credit: Xinmei Liu

Chinese — from young people to entrepreneurs — are voting with their feet to escape political oppression, bleak economic prospects, and often grueling work cultures. Increasingly, the exodus includes tech professionals and other well-educated middle-class Chinese.

Despite and uptick in emigration, the number of educated Chinese professionals emigrating to the United States has declined in recent years. Explaining why they did not pick the United States, emigrants cite America's complicated and unpredictable process for applying for visas and permanent residence status.

The number of student visas granted by the United States to Chinese nationals began to fall in 2016, as relations between the countries deteriorated. In the first six months of 2023, Britain granted more than 100,000 study visas to Chinese nationals, while the United States granted roughly 65,000 F1 student visas.

Some tech professionals chose Canada and European countries over the United States because of their better social benefits, work-life balance, and gun control laws.

From The New York Times
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