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By Philippe Legrain ADD COMMENTS

Intel, Yahoo, Google, eBay, Sun Microsystems – the rollcall of US technology giants founded by immigrant entrepreneurs is truly impressive. And they are not exceptional. According to "American Made: The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on US Competitiveness", a new study by the

National Venture Capital Association
, over the past 15 years immigrants have started one in four US public companies that were venture-backed, representing a market capitalisation of more than $500 billion. Among high-tech companies, the figure rises to an astonishing 40%. And nearly half (47%) of today’s private, venture-backed start-ups have immigrant founders.

But two-thirds
of the immigrant founders surveyed believe that current US immigration
policy hinders future foreign-born entrepreneurs from starting American companies.

Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo!, who came to the US from Taiwan at the age of ten, says:

Yahoo! would not be an American company today if the United States had not welcomed my family and me almost thirty years ago. We must do all that we can to ensure that the door is open for the next generation of top entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists from around the world to come to the US and thrive. Whether they arrive as children, students, or professionals, we want the best and the brightest here. Our immigration policy should reflect that or these talents will go elsewhere.

The US – and Europe – would do well to listen to him.

Posted 26 Nov 2006 in Blog

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