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Would reforms in immigration lead to economic growth?

A report recently released indicates that the United States may be missing out on business opportunities by forcing entrepreneurs who are immigrants back to their home countries. Issued jointly by the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the report offers two suggestions on how U.S. immigration law can be changed to deal with this potential loss.

The first is to allow foreign students who have attended colleges and universities to stay in the U.S. upon graduating. The second suggestion is to create a different visa geared specifically toward those who are potentially entrepreneurs.

As support for these suggestions the report cites several things. The first is the notion that people from other countries who are living in the U.S are often inclined to start their own businesses. Compared to the number of native-born people self employed (3.7 percent), the number of naturalized citizens who are self employed is 5 percent.

In addition, the report cites figures regarding the percentage of science and technology firms and Fortune 500 companies established by entrepreneurs who are foreigners. The percentages are 25.3 percent and 18 percent respectively. Examples of successful businesses that were started by foreigners include Google and Yahoo!

Presumably, the idea behind the push to keep potential entrepreneurs in the U.S. is that the creation of new businesses would lead to the employment of more Americans. In today's economy it would seem that many would welcome the possibility of new jobs.

Whether this recommendation will come to fruition remains to be seen. If steps are taken to make the immigration system in the U.S. more ""entrepreneur friendly," we will certainly report on it.

Source: Deseret News, "Immigration reform may spur economic growth, U.S. Chamber says," Deseret News, Jan. 26 2012

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