America’s loss is India and China’s gain: US study

March 2nd, 2009 - 12:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 2 (IANS) Loss of tens of thousands of skilled immigrants to countries like India and China “is an economic catastrophe that will hurt US competitiveness for decades to come”, says Vivek Wadhwa, lead author of a new study done at leading American universities.

Wadhwa and his team at Duke, Harvard and Berkeley universities uncovered several trends in their study on the plight of 1,203 skilled immigrants who came to the US from India and China to work or study and returned home:

* Most returnees originally came to the United States for career and educational opportunities. The majority of returnees cited career and quality of life as primary reasons to return to their home countries.

* The most common professional factor (86.8 percent of Chinese and 79.0 percent of Indians) motivating workers to return home was the growing demand for their skills in their home countries.

* Returnees also believed that their home countries provided better career opportunities than they could find in America.

* Most respondents (53.5 percent of Indian and 60.7 percent of Chinese) said opportunities to start their own businesses were better in their home countries.

* Most respondents (56.6 percent of Indians and 50.2 percent of Chinese) indicated that they would be likely to start a business in the next five years.

* Being close to family and friends was a significant consideration in the decision to return home, with many returnees considering their opportunities to care for ageing parents to be much better in their home countries (89.4 percent of Indians and 78.8 percent of Chinese).

* Most of the Indian and Chinese immigrant subjects who returned to their home countries were relatively young (in their low-30s) and were very well educated. Nearly 90 percent held master’s and PhD degrees, primarily in management, technology or science.

* Immigrants historically have provided one of America’s greatest competitive advantages. Between 1990 and 2007, the proportion of immigrants in the US labour force increased from 9.3 percent to 15.7 percent, and a large and growing proportion of immigrants bring high levels of education and skill to the US.

* Immigrants have contributed disproportionately in the most dynamic part of the US economy - the high-tech sector - co-founding firms such as Google, Intel, eBay and Yahoo.

* In addition, immigrant inventors contributed to more than a quarter of US global patent applications. Immigrant-founded US-based companies employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in revenue in 2006.

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