Competing for Talent, Immigrants Have Historically been Innovators, Job Creators.
A recent Wall Street journal article entitled: “A Better Idea for Green Jobs” should serve as a good reminder of our long history of immigrants creating innovation, building new companies, and starting tens of thousands of new jobs in the process.
The article reports that according to a Kauffman Foundation study, 25% of science and technology start-ups founded between 1995 and 2005 had either a foreign-born chief executive or lead technologist. Vivek Wadhwa, a Duke University researcher, reported that in 2005 those firms produced $52 billion in revenue with 450,000 employees. The majority (52%0 of Silicon Valley start-ups were immigrant led.
Almost three-quarters of these foreign-born entrepreneurs have advanced degrees, the vast majority in science, technology, engineering or math. According to the study, in 2006 more than 25% of U.S. patent applications were from foreign inventors or co-inventors residing in America.
The bureaucratic blockades to green cards and immigration currently however limit the number of highly educated, potential innovators in the United States. Idaho Republican Raúl Labrador’s has proposed a new bill that would create a special green card category for foreign-born graduates of American universities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For those with a master’s and Ph.D. and a job offer, there would be no quota caps, and company recruits would be fast-tracked through the visa process.
Mr. Labrador was quoted as saying: “We’re finding a lot of these graduates get job offers, but when they find out how long it will take them to get green cards they leave and go work in other countries where they become our competitors.” With the current talent war ongoing, and the need to foster innovation at home, we should seize the opportunity.
Read the original WSJ article: