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Reverse Brain Drain: Immigration Backlog in the US

Wadhwa, Vivek, Jasso, Guillermina, Rissing, Ben, Gereffi, Gary and Freeman, Richard B., Intellectual Property, the Immigration Backlog, and a Reverse Brain-Drain: America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part III (August 22, 2007)

Though the US has also always been a top destination for foreign born innovators and intellectuals, this study reveals a concerning current picture as immigrant-visas accumulate in backlog. More than one million desired high skilled foreign nationals are currently competing for less than 120,000 permanent US resident visas, a discouraging process that could trigger what the authors call ‘reverse brain drain’.

This study, carried out by Duke, Harvard, and New York University researchers, supports earlier studies on ‘America’s Immigrant Entrepreneurs’  by tracking the quantitative contribution of immigrants to the US economy, via the filing of patents and the creation of start-up tech companies and their revenue. The researchers also use extensive survey data to claim that 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.

Kauffman Foundation Study
America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs Part 2
America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs Part 1