Conducted by researchers at Duke University, New York University and Harvard University, the study is the third in a series of studies focusing on immigrants' contributions to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Earlier research revealed a dramatic increase in the contributions of foreign nationals to U.S. intellectual property over an eight-year period.
In this study, "Intellectual Property, the Immigration Backlog, and a Reverse Brain-Drain," researchers offer a more refined measure of this rise in contributions of foreign nationals to U.S. intellectual property and seek to explain this increase with an analysis of the immigrant-visa backlog for skilled workers. The key finding from this research is that the number of skilled workers waiting for visas is significantly larger than the number that can be admitted to the United States. This imbalance creates the potential for a sizeable reverse brain-drain from the United States to the skilled workers' home countries.
The earlier studies, "America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs" and "Entrepreneurship, Education and Immigration: America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part II," documented that one in four engineering and technology companies founded between 1995 and 2005 had an immigrant founder. Researchers found that these companies employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in revenue in 2006. Indian immigrants founded more companies than the next four groups (from the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan and Japan) combined.
Furthermore, these companies' founders tended to be highly educated in science, technology, math and engineering-related disciplines, with 96 percent holding bachelor's degrees and 75 percent holding master's or PhD degrees.
Among key findings in the most recent report:
Using data from the New Immigrant Survey, the authors find that, in 2003, approximately one in five new legal immigrants in the United States and about one in three employment-based new legal immigrants either planned to leave the United States or were uncertain about remaining. The authors had no data on how many foreign nationals have actually returned to their homelands.
About the research team
For more information about the Global Engineering and Entrepreneurship research at Duke University, visit http://www.globalizationresearch.com; visit http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/lwp/ to learn about Harvard Law's Labor and Worklife Program; and visit http://www.nyu.edu/ for more information about New York University.
This report is part of the series Immigration and the American Economy.