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Why Skilled Immigrants Are Leaving the U.S.


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Based on a study of Indian and Chinese immigrants in the IT sector, Vivek Wadhwa of Harvard Law School and Duke University suggests that highly skilled immigrant workers are returning home for brighter career prospects and a better quality of life. Wadhwa points out that if the United States doesn't want the immigrants who have fueled the country's innovation and economic growth to leave, it must provide them with the types of options and opportunities they are finding elsewhere. There are many reasons why immigrants are returning home to India and China yet they are critical to the long-term growth of the U.S. economy.

Based on a survey of 1,203 Indian and Chinese immigrants who had worked or received education in the U.S. and had returned to their home countries, it appears that many of these immigrants are young, well-educated and eager to succeed. In many ways, America's loss is the world's gain. The average age was 30 for Indian returnees, and 33 for Chinese. They were highly educated, with degrees in management, technology, or science. 51% of the Chinese held master's degrees and 41% had PhDs. 66% of the Indians held a master's and 12.1% had PhDs. They were at very top of the educational distribution for these highly educated immigrant groups, precisely the kind of people who make the greatest contribution to the U.S. economy and to business and job growth.

From Business Week
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