US Visa Logjam Triggers Reverse Brain Drain

Thousands of skilled workers wait for documents
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 23, 2007 7:31 AM CDT
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director for the Washington District Gregory Christian, far left, administers the oath of U.S. Citizenship, to, first row, from right, Marine Jose Ventura, a...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Just as the US tightens immigration controls, a huge backlog in processing visas for legal migrants is causing a "reverse brain drain," forcing sought-after scientists, engineers, doctors and entrepreneurs to return to their home countries, according to a report released yesterday. One million would-be immigrants are competing for only 120,000 permanent visas issued each year, reports AFP.

"The US benefits from having foreign-born innovators create their ideas in this country. Their departures would be detrimental to US economic well-being," said the co-author of  the report. Nearly a third of US tech start ups are launched by immigrants, and more than half of the companies in Silicon Valley were founded by foreigners. (Read more immigration stories.)