The immigration debate is getting more fiery, with a report issued today saying immigration is at a five-year high; later this week, the House should vote on a bill that toughens up border surveillance. How does all this affect entrepreneurs? In Inc.'s December issue, I write about how visa restrictions are pushing away foreign-born talent. For that story, I interviewed David Heenan, the author of Flight Capital: The Alarming Exodus of America's Best and Brightest. We talked about why the "reverse brain drain" is happening, what other countries are doing to recruit immigrants, and how the movement is hurting American companies. Here's an excerpt; for the full Q&A, see "America's Reverse Brain Drain."
Q: When did you start to notice this trend?
A: In Hawaii, where I live, I started five or six years ago to notice a number of people, particularly bright ones, going back in the opposite direction.
Q: Why do you believe that the workers leaving are the highly skilled ones?
A: The people at the top end of the spectrum-scientists, engineers, doctorsare much more mobile just in terms of their makeup. Their skills are in real demand, not only in their home country, but elsewhere. They tend to be much more footloose, have a much wider range of opportunities, and a mindset to be more geographically adventurous.