In a speech at the American University last Thursday, President Obama highlighted the incredible economic rewards that America has gained from its immigrants. He spoke of new waves of immigrants—from places like Ireland, Italy, Poland, and China—challenging the generations before them, and consequently being subjected to “rank discrimination and ugly stereotypes”. Yet the immigrants kept coming to America. That’s because it was the only land of opportunity. The President wants lawmakers to fix the immigration system so that America can remain globally competitive. But I don’t think it’s that simple. America is no longer the only magnet for the world’s best and brightest. Fixing immigration policy is an important start, but it won’t be enough to stop the brain drain of highly educated and skilled workers that the U.S. is presently experiencing.
Just last week, there were two notable visitors to Silicon Valley—Russian President, Dimitry Medvedev, and Chile’s minister of Economy, Juan Andres Fontaine. President Medvedev wanted the brilliant Russian-born and -educated programmers who write some of the Valley’s most sophisticated software to know that they are welcome back home and that he is setting up a science park for them. Minister Fontaine wants to turn Chile into a tech hub and is following my advice on how to make this happen: by attracting immigrants; building a diverse culture that encourages risk-taking and openness; and creating networks of mentors. Over drinks (some excellent Chilean wine), the minister told me of a new program that Chile is piloting to lure bootstrappers. Chile will grant $40,000 and provide some really cheap office space and accommodation to budding entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world. All they have to do is to build their products in one of the most beautiful locations on the planet. Chile is betting that once these entrepreneurs get there, they will never want to leave.
To read the full, original article click on this link: Dear Mr. President: Immigration Reform Won’t Be Enough To Stop The Brain Drain
Author: Vivek Wadhwa