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  #1  
Old 06-23-2009, 06:53 PM
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Default U.S. immigration rules blamed for tech brain drain

http://www.reuters.com/article/marke...37877620090623

Engineers, scientists leave amid long waits, uncertainty

* Silicon Valley politicians, businessmen call for change

* Congress leaders meet Obama on immigration this week

By David Lawsky

SAN FRANCISCO, June 23 (Reuters) - Silicon Valley is facing a brain drain of high-achieving foreign-born students, more of whom are leaving in the face of a chilly local immigration environment in a trend experts say will hurt U.S. high-tech industry competitiveness in the long run.

A more attractive employment environment overseas and a bad local economy are increasingly prompting graduates to head home in search of rosier prospects. This is depriving the Valley -- often called the cradle of global tech innovation -- the fresh blood it needs to remain at the vanguard of hot new industries such as clean technology.

"I believe we are going to innovate our way out of the economic woes we have, and in order to do that you need innovators," Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee, said by telephone.

"It means not sending out people who are innovators who want to become Americans," said Lofgren, one of the congressional leaders who will meet this week to discuss the matter with President Barack Obama.

More than half the start-ups that emerged from 1995 to 2005 in Silicon Valley -- the area near Stanford University in Northern California that spawned the likes of Intel and Apple -- had a founder who was a foreign-born national, according to a 2007 study by Duke University professor Vivek Wadhwa.

But many foreigners now face a long wait for permanent residence and have come to believe that will never change.

Ken Wilcox, president of Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, said the United States now faces an imperative to help talented foreigners stay.

NOT ENOUGH U.S. SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS

"We're simply not producing, in relative terms, significant numbers of engineers or scientists from people who have already been here for a number of generations," said Wilcox, who specializes in helping the start-ups that gave his bank its name. "You've got to bring them in from the outside."

Foreign nationals earn half the masters degrees and 71 percent of the doctorates in electrical engineering at U.S. universities, according to the House immigration subcommittee.

But they are increasingly unlikely to stay. Duke University's Wadwha said the U.S. lost 100,000 highly educated foreigners over the last 20 years, but faces accelerating losses of 100,000 to 200,000 in the next five years.

"The United States is experiencing a brain drain and doesn't even know what that means,"
The combination of better job climates in India and China and seemingly interminable waits for U.S. permanent resident status has changed the calculus for most students, he said.

Wadhwa said 60 of the 65 foreign engineers among the 120 he helped train this year to be business executives are leaving for India, China, and Turkey. He conducted a Facebook survey and discovered similar results across the United States.

"This is absolutely a new development," he said.

Aman Kapoor, head of the lobbying group Immigration Voice, said people are starting to leave in higher numbers because they have come to believe Congress will not fix the problem.

"They are giving up. And when they go they are taking their jobs with them," he said. "In time, Silicon Valley will no longer be in Northern California."


The problem exasperates area leaders. Tim Draper, a partner in the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, expressed the view in strong terms.

"As far as I am concerned, when someone receives a technological BS, MS or PhD from a top university, and they are starting to pay U.S. taxes, we should make them a citizen on the spot," he said in an email.

That's not likely to happen soon.

Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a Washington think tank, said that it will be difficult to pass reform legislation as long as Americans are losing jobs. In California, the unemployment rate hit a record 11.5 percent in May.

"It could be the death knell of high-skilled professionals coming into the United States," Anderson said.

And as long as highly trained foreigners do not know if they can remain permanently, they will not buy houses, or start companies and create jobs, he and others said.

Lofgren said one man she knows got his PhD and post-doctoral training but is cooling his heels waiting for a green card. It could take years.

"The guy is in his late 30s and still in limbo ... I can understand that at some point you have to make a life for yourself someplace. You can't just be on hold." (Editing by Eric Walsh)

Last edited by pappu; 06-23-2009 at 09:37 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2009, 10:01 AM
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By far the best article summarizing all the woes of highly skilled immigrant community.
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1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
  #3  
Old 06-24-2009, 11:26 AM
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She is the "House Judiciary immigration subcommittee" chairperson. If she is really so concerened, why doesn't she schedules a hearing on the recapture bill. only talk, no walk.
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  #4  
Old 06-24-2009, 11:40 AM
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Default true

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Originally Posted by amitga View Post
She is the "House Judiciary immigration subcommittee" chairperson. If she is really so concerened, why doesn't she schedules a hearing on the recapture bill. only talk, no walk.
last year there was action from her but this year I haven't seen any action so far.Lets hope she fights for us when they mark up any CIR later this year..
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  #5  
Old 06-24-2009, 01:34 PM
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Default

Congresswoman Lofgren and some of the other key lawmakers are fully aware of the issue now. And because they fully understand the issue, they continue to support the solution for green card backlogs. But its not that simple. There are other forces at play and we need more hands on the deck, including more IV members getting involved in the community effort so that we make head-way with this issue. We have come a long way but we all collectively need to connect with our lawmakers in the districts and in DC, so that we can further increase the profile of our issues, clearly indicating what's at stake here. We all have this responsibility and burden to make sure that we speak up for ourself. The collective response from each one of us will determine the measure of response from the Congress. We all have to consistently reach out to our lawmakers, sending them our message, and to make sure that this issue is on top of their mind.

There is lot of material available under the 'Advocacy' tab on the website. Please take few moments to read through some of the material and stand up for yourself. We cannot wait for others to do something for us, expecting somehow through sheer inference of someone else's actions that this problem will go away. We know that it won't. There is one and only one way to address this menace of green card backlogs, and that way is, getting actively involved in the effort and calling and meeting lawmakers who are at the borderline of this issue, and whom be can convince if we sincerely share with them our experience about the broken green card system. They will be ready to do what they have to do if we have done our part to increase the profile of this issue to the extent that it deserves.

Last edited by Administrator2; 06-24-2009 at 01:46 PM.
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  #6  
Old 06-24-2009, 02:48 PM
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Default My experience with Elected Representatives

My experience with writing to Senators and Congressmen has been very discouraging.
Every response I get is mostly "canned" and always seems to address the "undocumented" part of the immigration debate.

They never acknowledge anything about the employment based immigration aspects at all.

Have others had the same experience also?
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  #7  
Old 06-24-2009, 02:54 PM
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Default I agree

most of my requests to my senator have made in to there junk mail. I've never got a single response.
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2009, 04:03 PM
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I hear you. Its not always easy to get through to lawmaker's ofc even with the best effort, its possible. But if you care for this issue and if you are affected by this issue of green card backlog, then we have to be persistence until lawmakers and their staff give us their time and undivided attention. Sending electronic communication (emails) may not be the best way to communicate with the lawmaker's office. It would be more effective if we make phone calls and meet the office/key staff members of lawmakers personally. This may take several attempts, but in the end it will work. It would work well if find others in your area who will want to go with you for meetings with the lawmaker's office. And often it will take more than one meeting to get their support.

Here is a guide/document that could be used as a template to setup appointments, and how to effectively communicate our issues.

"How To" Guide Meet Lawmakers

Last edited by Administrator2; 06-24-2009 at 04:06 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-24-2009, 06:55 PM
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These people need to understand that one cannot just lump up this specialized employment into the 11.5% that California is facing. A majority of those layed off individuals don't fit in specialized category, so I don't see why there's such opposition against employment-based GC w.r.t rising unemployment. They are two different things.

In-fact by bringing employment-based immigration reform we will indirectly lower the unemployment simply because :
a) we will make decision to get houses here and limit amount of money being remitted back to home country.
b) we can choose entrepreneurial route of opening company and hiring/creating jobs.

But these guys just won't get the big picture...
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  #10  
Old 06-24-2009, 07:13 PM
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Default yup I agree

But if they have got the brains to see the bigger picture, they won't have been contributing to the 11.5% unemployment and blame the government and H1B.

This 11.5% is population mostly comprised of the ones smoking pot, purchasing the 7000 inch Flat screen tv at a blink of the eye and messing with the neighbor's wife.


Quote:
Originally Posted by forgerator View Post
These people need to understand that one cannot just lump up this specialized employment into the 11.5% that California is facing. A majority of those layed off individuals don't fit in specialized category, so I don't see why there's such opposition against employment-based GC w.r.t rising unemployment. They are two different things.

In-fact by bringing employment-based immigration reform we will indirectly lower the unemployment simply because :
a) we will make decision to get houses here and limit amount of money being remitted back to home country.
b) we can choose entrepreneurial route of opening company and hiring/creating jobs.

But these guys just won't get the big picture...
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  #11  
Old 07-20-2009, 06:59 AM
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Default Report on the impact high-skilled foreign born make

http://www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs349tot.pdf

Excellent report. It clearly shows the positive impact foreign-born high-skilled immigrants have on job creation and long-term competitiveness of this country.

Look at pages numbered 49 & 50. Also see pages 55 to 60.

16% (40 out of 250) of the highest impact small business firms formed between 2002 and 2006 had an Indian origin entrepreneur - the highest of any country! China is 4th at 6%.

Despite this, Indians face the longest wait to get Green Cards. Without Green Cards they cannot open their own businesses.

The present retrogression of priority dates (aka. unavailability of green cards, especially for people from Indian and China) which started in late 2005, is going to negatively impact the overall rate at which such high-impact small businesses are being created. Either the prospective entrepreneurs will move to a country where they can start their venture, or the endless wait will kill their entrepreneurial drive!

Just imagine the huge positive impact the economy would have if the waiting time for such people was cut from the present 5 to 10 years to 1~2 years. Now, isn't that exactly the kind of economic stimulus that this economy needs at this time?
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  #12  
Old 07-20-2009, 01:42 PM
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Default Very Good Report

Excellent Report with numbers.

The 250 foreign-born entrepreneurs on whom we have data hail from 54 countries in all regions of the world. India is the largest source country, accounting for 16% of this group, followed by the U.K. at 10%.
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  #13  
Old 07-20-2009, 01:47 PM
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In my opinion the issue here is not whether the lawmakers are buying the idea or not, it is his/ her constituents. When the economy is not doing good and many in their constituency are unemployed, they cannot go and explain the difference between skilled and unskilled labors and how this will impact the US economy in a long run. Sometimes even though the lawmakers get the point, they cannot sell it to their constituents for the fear of backlash and the impact on the re-election.
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  #14  
Old 07-20-2009, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrblr View Post
In my opinion the issue here is not whether the lawmakers are buying the idea or not, it is his/ her constituents. When the economy is not doing good and many in their constituency are unemployed, they cannot go and explain the difference between skilled and unskilled labors and how this will impact the US economy in a long run. Sometimes even though the lawmakers get the point, they cannot sell it to their constituents for the fear of backlash and the impact on the re-election.
I agree with you, I believe that the state of the economy is to be blamed to some extent for CIR delay.

We need to do, what we need to, i.e to support IV either with money or personal time, participate in rallys, fax campaigns, & calling senators.
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  #15  
Old 07-20-2009, 06:58 PM
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Default

Report is good but such reports don't excite me anymore.
I am seeing great articles, editorials and news since 2005, about the issues IV community is facing but this does not translate to any legislation.

Read it, be happy but don't raise your hopes very high.
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