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Now how did I know that this was a Vivek Wadhwa article before I even followed the link to read the article? Oh, yeah, because this is Vivek Wadhwa's pet issue. As in his previous articles on this subject, he doesn't give any big-picture official statistics (even though those should be available) about how much demand there is under current rules for immigrant visas to the United States by persons from China or India who have completed university educations. Nor does he even relate his anecdotes to the (large) percentage of graduate students in the United States from India or China who somehow manage to stay and eventually settle in the United States under current rules. He simply doesn't provide any thoughtful analytical context for the policy position he supports.

I think it's wonderful for the United States to accept a lot of immigrants--my wife is an immigrant from another country. But I will simply ask the policy questions I generally ask when HN threads include discussion of immigration policy:

1) What country offers BETTER general conditions for convenient immigration by educated persons from China or from India than the United States? Where are that country's immigration rules posted on the World Wide Web? Would you rather live there than in the United States?

2) What countries offer easy and convenient immigration to an arbitrary person from an arbitrary country, say an African person who would like to start a new life by founding a business in some developed country? Where could that person immigrate readily and legally?

3) What countries allow Americans readily to settle with permanent residence status that could turn into citizenship after an application on the same terms that Vivek Wadhwa advocates that the United States offer to citizens of other countries? What countries are currently visible examples of the results of the kind of policy he proposes? Would you rather live in one of those countries than in the United States?

4) Is there any country on earth that has a NET inflow of immigrants from the United States, compared to the number of its own citizens who emigrate to the United States? What country is that? What are its immigration rules? Would you like to start a start-up there?

After edit: If you are sure that there is another country that provides better immigration rules for start-up entrepreneurs than the United States, could you kindly link to some website hosted by that country explaining what the rules are?

Anecdotally speaking, "Canada" is a good answer to many of the questions that you pose.

And, from what I understand, Australia.

It is much easier to move (and to immigrate) in Canada than Australia, however. Entrepreneurial spirit may be similar, but immigration laws are very different (and, although less critical, the distance from large markets).

I was discussing (and with the proviso that my knowledge was superficial at best) immigration policy - which seems comparable. Googling around shows me that Australia has a large foreign born population (24%), and a points based system similar to Canada's.

Singapore seems to have the most entrepreneur friendly immigration policy.

They changed the eligibility criteria to add some investment and financial obligations in 2009. Until 2009, there were no investment required, no minimum employees and spending requirement.


Would you say that Canada has done as good a job or better of assimilating those immigrants culturally than the US has? (I think that's one of the reasons for the quotas/other hoops - to make it so that there's not enough at any given time to make sticking entirely to one's old cultural group easy).

Just because the United States has the most liberal immigration policy doesn't mean it shouldn't be more liberal.

As with startups- don't worry about the competition, focus on making yourself better.

Letting in everyone who wants to come is not pure upside, it can be incredibly disruptive if not managed.

That said, we should be putting a lot more effort into letting the cream of the crop settle without any hassle. International students at top engineering/science schools should have the red carpet rolled out for them. If they're good enough to get into MIT or Caltech, or a school like IIT abroad, they should be actively courted.

> Is there any country on earth that has a NET inflow of immigrants from the United States, compared to the number of its own citizens who emigrate to the United States?

My guess is that the Vatican might qualify given the "low birth rate", and perhaps Monaco, although that one's just a hunch and I have no numbers.

Since someone took the trouble to downvote, I guess I need to spell it out (I thought it was quite obvious) that mine was more of an 'intellectual curiosity' sort of response to his question rather than a real data point.

I'm not finding US emigration numbers, but working from the American expatriate numbers, which include both emigrants and people who will eventually return, the following look likely:

  Country      1996 Immigration    1999 total Americans
  Canada       15825               687700
  UK           13657               224000
  Germany       6748               210880
  Israel        3126               184195
  Italy         2501               168967
  Australia     2750               102800
  France        3079               101750
The high "total americans" to "annual immigration from" rations seem likely that the annual emigration may be a net positive. (Remember, some of the immigrants will eventually return home too.)

Immigration data from: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0201398.html Americans abroad data from: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/Demographic/meetings/egm/migratio...

I'll grant that this article is light on evidence, but it can be true that every country has a worse immigration policy than the US, and that people tend to return to their home countries to start their businesses. Because every country tends to treat its own citizens better than it treats immigrants. I thought that this was the point of the article. Most of the points that you raise have to do comparing immigration policies with one another, rather than comparing immigration policies with domestic policies.

Also, I (and I imagine many supporters of open immigration in the US) would certainly argue that every country should be friendlier to immigrants, not just the US. The whole world is terrible on immigration and getting worse.

The issue is not who has the least bad immigration policy. It's not getting people to immigrate here as opposed to immigrate to other countries. The issue is making our immigration policy good enough to make it preferable to immigrate here as opposed to not immigrate at all, which is the real danger.

Good questions in general, but how are they relevant here? Wadhwa is asserting that skilled immigrants are returning home to China, India, etc., not heading to some other foreign country like Chile to do their startup. We're not competing against other expat locations for immigrants, we're competing against the simple act of them staying or returning home.


Australia's rules give you bonus points (literally -- there's a points scheme) if you're on the desired skills list[1]; pretty tough otherwise.

For OP I would have given Singapore as a country with liberal immigration, simple business requirements and low taxes.

[1] http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/_pdf/sol-schedule3.pdf

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