As a multicultural media agency and an immigrant-owned and ran company ourselves, the team at Here&Now365 is working closely with migrant founded firms, promoting and improving their businesses. That is our job, and as such we are directly aware of the boost foreigners give to the domestic economy. The nation is sailing hostile waters these days with respect to employment, buying power and the general inconveniences of the economic cycle which pessimists insist to call ‘recession’.
Additionally, 2600 students at London Metropolitan University have almost been deported two months ago, bringing infamy to British higher education, so it’s an ideal time to put things in perspective.
While the youth unemployment rate is highest in decades, the Bank of England pushes rounds over rounds of Quantitative Easing and all industries are rethinking their traditional methods, immigration is being harnessed by the Government. Many people, however, come to this country with their life savings and dreams honed over years of international experience to take advantage of the favourable conditions for starting a business in Britain. Once they set up their operations, jobs are created, cash flow starts running and finally bills and groceries get paid for. That’s true: the contribution immigrants make to the environment of a free market goes way beyond off-license shops and restaurants.
This article in The Washington Post raises some interesting concerns about how things are looking in the US: according to studies sourced by the author, young companies are the most reliable source of jobs, and almost half of those new ventures have at least one immigrant among their originators. If all start-ups with immigrants in upper management positions get counted, the number suddenly jumps to 74 per cent.
The Washington Post also draws attention to absurd immigration laws which prevent foreign graduate students from staying and force them to return to their home countries. Entrepreneurial spirit intact, they usually proceed to open companies from back home and successfully compete with their American counterparts.
Last month, a letter signed by 165 high-ranking academics reached Congress and the White House, imperatively asking for visa policy changes to allow foreign-born students who obtain advanced degrees to remain in the US and start firms. In their own words, not doing so would be “a critical threat to America’s preeminence as a global center of innovation and prosperity.” Coincidentally or not, this “reverse brain drain” trend is overlapping almost exactly with the pattern of the financial crisis.
Said the scholars: “New research shows that in 2011, foreign-born inventors were credited contributors on more than 75 per cent of patents issued to the top 10 patent-producing universities in the United States – irrefutable proof of the important role immigrants play in American innovation. These inventions lead to new companies and new jobs for American workers, and are an enormous boom to our economy.”
Having taken the cue, lawmakers proposed a few options for solving the issue, such as the so-called Startup Act 2.0 which opens a small window for people capable of exercising the American Dream.
The creative industries of the UK, particularly those marketing to diasporas are negatively affected by the volatile legal policy of today’s government. The article we presented, the powerful letter as well as the administration’s response beg the question: what is being done to stimulate foreign entrepreneurship in Britain and to keep bright young people engaged in this country’s business environment?