Posts Tagged ‘Grassley-Sanders bill’

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Feb 12th 2009 at 8:00am UTC

Looming Talent Protectionism

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

On top of Buy American provisions, certain U.S. political actors are now trying to restrict immigration on the grounds of protecting American jobs. The Grassley-Sanders bill in the Senate is the product of the strange politics of our times – a Republican and a socialist-leaning independent – is a veritable Smoot-Hawley for the talent-based economy. A very big mistake, for reasons this Business Week report points out.

But placing limits on this mechanism for bringing foreign workers to the U.S. is not the answer to the country’s rising unemployment rate and may undermine efforts to spur technological innovation…

Increased numbers of H-1B visas strongly correlate with increased numbers of patents applied for in the U.S. by immigrant inventors …The researchers also found no evidence that increasing H-1B visa awards decreased innovation by U.S.-born researchers in the form of patent applications, a decrease that is often described as “crowding out.” To the contrary, their analysis identified a weak but still positive impact (often called “crowding in”) on the numbers of patents filed by non-immigrants in regions where the number of H-1B visas awarded were highest.   Even more telling … in periods when H-1B visa numbers went down, so did patent applications filed by immigrants. And when H-1B visa numbers went up, patent applications followed suit. …

When American workers who have the skills to file patents and develop new technologies get laid off, they often start new companies. And these companies generate employment and help the economy recover. When workers on H-1B visas get laid off, they usually have no choice but to return home and start their companies abroad. So they are planting the seeds for future economic growth in their home countries, seeds that could easily have been planted in the U.S.

So the critics of skilled immigration may get their wish. We will scare away the world’s best and brightest who have always flocked to our shores. But the next Silicon Valley won’t be in located the U.S. It will likely be in Hyderabad or Shanghai.

Or say Vancouver, Toronto, or Waterloo.