Thursday, July 12, 2012


Research from the Kauffman Foundation has previously shown that immigrants start companies in the United States at greater rates than native-born Americans do, and are disproportionately successful in starting high-tech firms.

This is not surprising to many of us, with studies such as AnnaLee Saxenian's seminal "The New Argonauts" demonstrating that immigrants have driven the boom in high technology companies in areas such as Silicon Valley for the last three decades

However, a report released this week by the National Foundation for American Policy shows the advantage that the USA has with regard to immigrant entrepreneurs is likely to deteriorate dramatically if legislators do not radically change their policies.

It shows that visa wait times are likely to increase in employment-based immigration categories and such backlogs, according to Kauffman, means that foreign nationals with the skills and abilities to start high-growth companies will have to return to their home countries and likely start companies there rather than in the United States.

To demonstrate the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs, Kauffman has produced this video in which the case for supporting and attracting immigrant entrepreneurs is strongly made.

Bob Litan, vice president for Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, also makes a strong case in this recent article from the Washington Post.

However what applies in the USA equally applies here in the UK.

We need to be at the forefront of attracting the best entrepreneurial minds into Britain to help grow our economy and the Coalition Government will need to look very carefully at its own immigration policies to ensure that this happens. Certainly, it must examine whether the current rules and regulations are fit for purpose or whether they are dissuading individuals from bringing their business ideas to the UK.

More on this subject soon.