US losing out on skilled immigrants

A new study reveals that the United States of America is losing out on attracting skilled immigrants to a number of other countries including those in Asia, along with Australia and New Zealand.

According to Emilio Zagheni a University of Washington assistant professor of sociology and fellow of the UW escience institute, who used data from the social media site LinkedIn to track global migrations, there has been a sharp drop-off in the US’s proportional share of skilled immigrants.

The study revealed that in 2000, 27 per cent of the world’s global migrating professionals sampled chose the US as a new home destination, while by 2012 this number had dropped to just 13 per cent. The biggest drop was among immigrants with skills in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, from 37 per cent in 2000 to 15 per cent two years ago.

Asian countries saw the highest increase in professional migrants worldwide in this period – 26 per cent in 2012, compared with just 10 percent in 2000, while Australia, Oceania, Africa and Latin America also saw an increase in their share of the world’s professional migration flows.

“These other countries are attracting not only a higher share of migrants, but also migrants from the top universities in the world,” Zagheni said. “That was surprising.”

Indeed, the study showed that while the US attracted 24 per cent of graduates from the top 500 universities worldwide in 2000, this number had fallen to just 12 per cent in 2012.

“The U.S. is still the top destination for migrations, but [the study] shows that this is something that should not be taken for granted,” added Bogdan State, One of the study’s co-authors.

It is widely hoped that the recent executive action regarding immigration reform taken by US President Barack Obama will lead to much needed changes in the country’s legal skilled and business immigration programmes and lead to a simplified immigration system for those hoping to move to the country.

Article published 1st December 2014