There are plenty of talented engineers available to design a new economic revolution. However, argues tech tycoon and immigrant Wadhwa, they’re all going to—or staying in—places like India and China.
The United States, writes the author in this brief manifesto, has long been hospitable to hardworking, innovative immigrants, particularly in the tech sector. “As an entrepreneur,” writes the author, “I became aware of how many Indian and Chinese immigrants started technology companies. The number seemed way out of proportion to their representation in the US population.” Small wonder: Immigrants figure prominently in more than 75 percent of the top venture-funded startups, while foreign-born inventors and the investors who financed them account for just about the same percentage of tech patents. Whereas homegrown Americans go into law, business and medicine, immigrants figure disproportionally in the ranks of engineers and other people who actually make things. For decades, writes Wadhwa, the U.S. has relied on those immigrants to do that making, but thanks to misguided cuts in education, “it’s no longer a given that foreign students will flock to US universities for science and technology graduate studies.” They’re going instead to Canada or Britain, or staying home. Wadhwa offers a well-reasoned proposal to restructure visa requirements to allow greater numbers of educated immigrant technologists into the U.S., allow their spouses to work as well, “untether the H-1B worker from the employer,” and other reforms.
A thoughtful contribution to the dialogue surrounding immigration.