Reverse Brain Drain

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Reverse brain drain is the term gaining popularity among the Americans because of the rapid outsourcing of the knowledge and work by the US.

Earlier, brain drain referred to talented people from all over the world migrating to the United States for better prospects in terms of education, employment, free socio-economic environment, and to enjoy a high standard of living. The companies of the United States not only outsource work related to engineering, software, product design, and development to countries such as China, India, and Russia but also the contracts of their efficient workers are bought such that the costs can be reduced.

The growing trend of reverse brain drain is becoming pronounced in for American firms. Over the years, they have been shifting the best jobs to different parts of the world with low labor costs. There are nearly 250-500 million knowledge workers in countries like Russia, India, and china. This is the beginning of the process of reverse brain drain as in the short term the companies employing these foreign workers gain maximum profit and can save on their capital. But in the long term, the reverse brain drain leads to American companies losing their ability to bring forth new products and services.

It has been argued by the advocates of the visa program that outsourcing as well as outsiders are required to run the economy of the United States as the number of graduates in USA is on the decline, especially in subjects such as science and math. This further leads to an acute shortage of the high tech workers in companies of the United States. Not only this, such shortfalls hampers creation, reduces the growth of high-wage jobs, leads to a decline in the U.S. exports, and enhances the costs of doing business in the United States. In fact, this is one of the main reasons that have led the US based tech firms to move their operations overseas and overcome chronic job vacancies.

The danger of reverse brain drain is increasing with the issuance of the H-1B visa program, a worker's visa which ensures the entry of the low wage H-1B workers in the American firms and this is an obstacle for the U.S. natives from entering those professions. According to a recent study on the Immigration and Naturalization Service it has been found that over 34,000 Indians came to the U.S. on the H-1B visa program between October 1999 and February 2000 alone, and they were mostly employed by high-tech US based companies.

The only process by which the US government can control the proliferating dangers of reverse brain drain is to take a strong step against the governmental policies of sending the best brains overseas or discourage skilled labor from joining US companies. Moreover, the American education system should also be restructured. A holistic and mutli-pronged approach can possibly be a solution for the menace of reverse brain drain.