Silicon Valley, an area and name synonymous with innovation, dynamic and entrepreneurs at their finest. The best minds from ar0und the globe converging to create the ideas that are shaping the next 100 years of our collective futures.
An area situated just outside of San Francisco and surrounding the prestigious Stanford University whose alumni is a who’s who of the elite from the founders of Hewlett Packard of yesteryear to Sun Microsystems a decade ago to Google and Yahoo today and virtually everything in between. It is the Meca of our times!
Why is this the case?
Well it has a lot to do with the US Higher Education Institutions and system being the finest in the world. Universities like Harvard, Yale and of course Stanford have been the attracting these fine minds from around the world on the F1 Visa as students and studying for their Bachelors, Master and PhD qualifications under the expert tutelage of the world’s most dynamic professors. These students have long known if they work hard and achieve, they too had access to the American Dream of starting a company and making a fortune via work visas like the H1B visa or E3 visa and then later permanent residency and citizenship via a US Green Card.
What has since happened?
Well quite frankly politics has happened. Immigrants have been unfairly, unjustly and quite innaccurately blamed for US economic ills and US Immigration policy has resulted insituations where by things like an H1B Visa Lottery, H1B Visa Quota, Green Card Lottery, and general delays in the US Immigration system meaning some of the smartest minds in the globe have been forced to wait 10-15 years in the same role just so their Green Card application and thus permanent residency status can be processed successfully.
So this has resulted in what publications like Tech Crunch and esteemed academics from Harvard and Duke fame like Vivek Wadhwa have coined the US reverse brain drain. The ultimate result of which would see Silicon Valley now longer near the Bay area of California but in Bangalore, India or the southern provinces of China or even I am sure to the horror of many in the US who spew the vile anti-immigrant language, the Middle East.
1 in 4 tech companies in the US are started by Immigrants including beheamoths like Google, Yahoo and eBay so it doesn’t take Einstein (himself an immigrant to the US) to see the detrimental effect this has to the US worker and economy as a whole. Of course you rarely here that from politicians more interested in cheap sound bites and their next book deal than actual benefit for their country from educated decision making.
According to Tech Crunch “U.S. grad school admissions for would-be international students plummeted this year, according to the Council of Graduate Schools—the first decline in five years. The decline was 3% on average, thanks to increases from China and the Middle East, but some countries saw double-digit declines in interest in a U.S. education. Applicants from India and South Korea fell 12% and 9% respectively—with students turning their sights on schools in Asia and Europe instead.”
The Bay Area Council, the Campaign for College Opportunity and IHELP showed that the US needs a 90% upswing in people graduating with degrees in science, technology, math or engineering to keep up with all the new jobs being created in that discipline. Essentially that what made Silicon Valley great may no longer exist and you may see this gradually shift elsewhere.
A majority of the world’s economic growth comes from India, China, Brazil, Eastern Europe and even Africa. Most of those countries have a much better social support structure than the US and certainly much cheaper costs for higher education from ever improving academic institutions. If an aspiring entrepreneur is serious evaluating choices for a great career and to be a global sucess in the next 20 years, the answer is increasingly NOT the US. Particularly when you consider ridiculous anti-immigrant policies like the H-1B restrictions considered by congress.
Make no mistake the US greatest threat to it’s own prosperity is itself and it’s own Economic, Immigration and Social policies like Education and Health. Let’s all hope sensible, reasoned and rational decisions are made going forward because as it stands now we are looking at a bleak future ahead.