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World's Talent Opts to Leave ­sa

By ­SA Today

September 21, 2009

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The United States will lose many skilled workers over the next five years as 100,000 immigrants from India and 100,000 immigrants from China return home, warns Duke University's Vivek Wadhwa. He describes the loss of immigrants who have worked or  been educated in the United States as a flood that will impact the competitive edge of the country in science, technology, and other fields.

"For the first time in American history, we are experiencing the brain drain that other countries experienced," Wadhwa says.

In a study of 1,203 Indian and Chinese immigrants who have returned to their homelands, Wadhwa says their decision was not based on the struggling U.S. economy. He says many immigrants had attractive offers from their home countries for mid-level to senior management positions, with incentives such as financial assistance and housing. Many immigrants also left to reconnect with their families and take advantage of their greater purchasing power in their homeland.

In addition, trying to obtain permanent residency is very discouraging for immigrants, says Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the American Council on International Personnel.

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