The Trump Administration has talked tough about immigration, stating it should be limited. His campaign rhetoric about the dangers of Muslims and Mexicans were followed by a rise in extremist violence, including murders, by those biased against immigrants. This one-two punch of policies and paranoia may have the effect of harming the Kentucky and U.S. economies in the short and long term because talented, educated, driven people not living in the U.S. who want to start businesses may do so elsewhere.
The gateway for many immigrants starting businesses in the U.S. is often a college education. Many of tomorrow’s business owners are today’s college students, and some from other countries are avoiding American universities.
About 40% of American colleges and universities are seeing less foreign applications, according to Inside Higher Ed. International student recruiters state there’s “a great deal of concern” voiced by prospective students and their families about visas and what they see as a less welcoming climate in the country, according to a survey by a number of college education organizations.
At the same time Canadian colleges are seeing applications from foreign students increase 20% or more, reports Insider Higher Ed.
- The University of Waterloo has seen a 25% increase in undergraduate international applications and graduate international applications have gone up 41%.
- McMaster University’s international applications are up 34.4% compared to last year.
- The University of Toronto’s applications from potential international undergraduates went up by just more than 20% from 2016. This is driven by applicants from the U.S. (up 80%), India (up 59%), Turkey (up 68%) and Mexico (up 63%). Richard Levin, the school’s registrar, said the increases are related at least in part to the “generalized effect of global events drawing attention to Canada and Toronto in particular as a kind of safe, inclusive, stable space.”
If someone from outside the country wants to start a high tech business, one where physical location isn’t a key issue, would that person come to the U.S. if it’s not seen as a “safe, inclusive, stable place”?
The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, released a study in 2011 that estimated that for every 100 foreign-born workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions, 262 jobs were created for those born in the U.S., according to Patricia Sabga’s piece for Al Jazeera. If potential students feel unwelcome or their parents feel they won’t be safe while studying in the U.S., Canada and other countries offer opportunities where they can get an advanced education, settle down and start businesses.
- Immigrants are about twice as likely to start businesses than native-born Americans.
- 5% of those starting businesses in 2014 were immigrants, an increase from 13.3% in 1997.
- About a quarter of engineering and technology companies created in the U.S. from 2006 to 2012 had at least one key founder from another country.
- These companies employed about 560,000 workers and had $63 billion in sales in 2012.
- Twenty-four of the top 50 venture-backed companies in the U.S. in 2011 had at least one immigrant founder.
- Each of these companies has created an average of about 150 jobs in the U.S.
The United States still offers many opportunities, and immigrants have been coming here for more than two hundred years. Despite the current atmosphere, if you live in Kentucky and have any questions about a student visa or how an immigrant can legally stay in the country and start a business, contact our office so we can discuss the legal process, the applicable law and how we can help.