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The Real High-Tech Immigrant Problem: They're Leaving


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Language in the U.S. bank bailout legislation that discourages banks from recruiting skilled foreign workers on work visas has re-ignited the controversy over the hiring of foreign high-tech workers. Duke University professor Vivek Wadhwa says the real problem is not smart foreigners coming to take jobs in United States, but rather all the bright, talented, and ambitious immigrants who are leaving.

Wadhwa's new report, "America's Loss is the World's Gain," estimates that 50,000 immigrants have left the United States and returned to India and China, and that during the next five years 100,000 more will return to their native countries. The report says that economics, not visa problems, is the main reason so many immigrants are leaving. Growing demand for skills and strong job opportunities in China and India were cited by 87 percent of the Chinese and 79 percent of Indians as reasons for returning. Most of the returnees are young, generally in their early 30s, and nearly 90 percent have master's or doctorate degrees. Two-thirds said that visa considerations were not a reason for returning home.

Wadhwa says the United States needs to start wooing foreign skilled workers by creating "fast-track" immigration policies and incentives to stay, steps that countries such as Singapore and Australia already are taking.

From The New York Times
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