Brain drain of foreign entrepreneurs hurts U.S.

In the past, Apple has been blamed numerous times to have imitated China’s inventions. Indeed, before Apple could, smartphone manufacturers in China had already produced dual camera assemblages and phones that had no earphone jacks. Apple has also been found to be adding stickers and animations that are a real duplication of We Chat from China.

The fact that Apple had blamed China for duplicating its innovations makes it a significant turn of events. Even so, the truth is that the biggest innovator in the USA isn’t the world’s leading inventor today. Silicon Valley is now faced with heavy global competition in the area of invention production.

Global shift in innovation centers

That there are many billion-dollar new technology ventures coming up all over the world is further evidence of this. Based on CrunchBase, 42 out of the last 191 unicorns (start-ups worth over $1 billion) that the world has developed are China-based, India has eight.

Despite the US having 105 of these, it is worth noting that even until as little as ten (10) years ago, Asia had very few serious up-and-coming investments in technology. Yet these days, companies such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, each from China, are global leaders in innovation, and the most valuable world over.

Start-ups moving elsewhere

For a long time, Silicon Valley was the world’s innovation center, and as such attracted the world’s best entrepreneurs. This has ceased to be the case. India has several upcoming start-up incubators across the nation. Only the Silicon Valley and China would appear to be more important centers to date.

The U.S. has historically lured the topmost and sharpest persons in the world to study in its institutions, giving them non-permanent work visas. However, many of such persons that desired to stay toiled in lines with little hopes because the number of permanent visas was severely restricted.

By October 2006, according to researchers at Duke, Harvard and NYU, over a million highly trained employees in the US had their professional fates left hanging due to the 120,000 green card annual limit for the employee group. After a decade, it is approximated that trained workers with visas hanging in the balance is around 1.5 million.

America’s blemished immigration laws have made several thousands of highly talented and trained workers, and graduates of the best universities in America to go back home. Now they are the ones in senior positions in China and India’s unicorns. A full generation of enterprisers and inventors has left America to go and strengthen competitors all over the world.

This is what informed the Obama government to try and overturn the new development. The Department of Homeland Security (‘DHS’) floated a regulation in August 2016, to allow the entry and stay of foreign enterprisers in the US. They were also allowed to work at start-ups that passed the set standards. This was in taking advantage of the parole powers that give the president authority to, through the DH, allow some individuals temporary residence in the US.

Such interventions do not last long and have boundaries. The rules are tough requiring the investment to be less than three years old at the time of applying for entrepreneurial parole. The least ownership that an entrepreneur must have is 15% of the start-up enterprise.

Also, the start-up cannot employ more than three foreigners. In the application, it must be ascertained that the start-up has the ability to grow very fast and create jobs by getting investment capital amounting to $345,000 and above from stable investors in the US who are known to have good investment in start-ups that have succeeded. Alternatively, they must have been granted or awarded at least $100,000 by local, state or federal government bodies.

No real assurance for entrepreneurs

Yet even this does not give any assurance for entrepreneurs intending to move to the US. It has no direct connection to permanent residency. The rule must also have gone through a notice and comment period of 45 days in the Federal Register. However, it will be a significant step if it is realized because it may result in many start-ups coming to the US, thus leading to several jobs.

To save foreigners on temporary visas from maltreatment by their American employers, there is need for DHS rules that will allow them to change jobs. Under the current regulations, the employees cannot change jobs while waiting for the green card, a wait that can last up to twenty years. The impact of this is that employers can shrink salaries to the detriment of both American and temporary visa workers alike. The inability to start companies means frustrations that end up with the would-be investors reverting to their home countries.

The hyping of xenophobia during election campaigns in the US makes immigration a sensitive issue. This situation needs to be seriously looked into by putting in place laws and not just depending on the presidential privilege. The competitiveness of the United States has never been so significantly endangered. It is only prudent and proper to work on growing the economy in order to create jobs. This will attract people who will bring both further development and job creation, and will tackle the disillusionment and loss of hope among immigrants.

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