More skilled immigrants giving up the American dream

There is a huge exodus of immigrants who have worked or have been educated in the U.S. back to their homelands. Why is this happening, and what effect will it have?

In a piece for USA Today, Emily Bazar reports that there is a huge exodus of immigrants who have worked or have been educated in the U.S. They are returning to their homelands to find work.

One expert quoted in the piece, Vivek Wadhwa of Duke University, predicts that in the next five years, 100,000 immigrants will go back to India and 100,000 will return to China, countries that have had rapid economic growth. Wadhwa, who surveyed 1,203 Indian and Chinese immigrants, claims that this trend has less to do with the poor American economy than with other factors, including:

  • Immigration delays. Many immigrants are frustrated with the amount of time it takes to attain permanent residency (some wait up to a decade).
  • Quality of life and family ties. Many immigrants desire to be among their support systems of friends and family. Also, luxuries are much more affordable in their home countries.
  • Better career opportunities. About 10% of managers in India are returnees, mostly from the U.S. China's government entices some skilled workers with incentives such as financial assistance and housing. China is also in great need of employees in fields such as finance and information technology.

The experts quoted in the article say that this exodus should raise concerns that the U.S. "may lose its competitive edge in science, technology and other fields."

What's your take on this?