The number of US high-tech start-ups founded by immigrants – a significant source of growth for the American economy – has fallen in recent years, according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation.
The study revealed that the proportion of companies started by foreign-born entrepreneurs has slipped from 25.3% to 24.3% since 2005.
This decline is more pronounced in Silicon Valley where the percentage of immigrant-founded start-ups dropped from 52.4% to 43.9%.
The survey suggested that an “unwelcoming” immigration system is the reason why foreign-born entrepreneurs are getting discouraged.
"For several years, anecdotal evidence has suggested that an unwelcoming immigration system and environment in the US has created a 'reverse brain drain.' This report confirms it with data," Dane Stangler, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation, was quoted as saying in AFP.
"To maintain a dynamic economy, the US needs to embrace immigrant entrepreneurs."
The study comes at a time where there is fierce debate in the US on immigration policies, and on visa caps set for highly skilled immigrants.