The American Immigration Council (AIC), a nonprofit immigration advocacy group, notes that other countries stand ready to embrace highly skilled foreign workers’ contributions, if the U.S. increases obstacles which prevent highly skilled workers from applying for and receiving U.S. work authorization. While the current U.S. administration plans a major overhaul of the H-1B process, which will decrease the number of highly skilled foreign workers admitted to the U.S., other countries such as Canada are embracing highly skilled foreign workers. The Canadian Government’s “Global Skills Strategy” program has promised a two week turn around on work permits for skilled foreign workers.
Talent is highly mobile and immigration contributes to “talent clusters.” According to Harvard Business School professor William Kerr, the author of The Gift of Global Talent, talent clusters are areas where talented individuals tend to congregate, and these clusters form innovative places such as the Silicon Valley.
As the author indicates, immigrants contribute to the growth of these clusters. For example, immigrants are responsible for one-quarter of all U.S. patents filed, and more than half of all U.S. workers with doctorates in science and engineering fields are immigrants. As the U.S. restricts immigration, highly skilled foreign workers will likely find more welcoming talent clusters in other countries.