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Immigrants to thank for majority of new patents in U.S.

A new study released yesterday by the Partnership for a New American Economy shows that 76 percent of all new patents in the United States come from immigrant students, postdoctoral fellows or staff researched at our nation's top universities. Keeping all those bright minds in the country is a problem, because our immigration laws make it difficult on those seeking to start their own business after graduation.

The typical story finds international students here legally who earn their Ph.D. then conducts research. Perhaps they discover a medical product that they want to market and sell to hospitals to raise money for additional research. Guess what? They can't. They cannot raise capital funds without a visa. As a university fellow or staff researcher, you are not allowed an employment visa. Only professors. Starting a business then sponsoring yourself doesn't work either. One immigrant from India in this very predicament was able to achieve a visa through a long-shot application reserved for persons of note, like Nobel Prize winners.

Thousands and thousands of international students come to the U.S. to get a first-class education and work with the best talent in the world. Which they do, then leave because they cannot find jobs and sponsors here. We create the world's best minds then send them away.

As a co-chair of the Partnership that sponsored the study, New York Mayor Bloomberg's office believes that, "Immigrant inventors create patents and patents create jobs." The Partnership for a New American Economy hopes this study will encourage U.S. federal immigration policy makers to keep the world's best and the brightest in this country.

Source: CNN, "Immigrants file most patents at top schools," Jose Pagliery, June 26, 2012

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