The U.S. Continues To ACCELERATE China’s Growth As A Technological Super Power

The U.S. Continues To ACCELERATE China’s Growth As A Technological Super Power

Article written by:

Rami D. Fakhoury / Managing Director of Fakhoury Global immigration, USA PC


Recent media reports indicate the U.S. is quickly losing its place as the top destination for global talent. Economically vital areas such as California’s Silicon Valley, the heart of America’s IT industry, report a growing “brain drain” of skilled talent outside of the United States.1 Organizations like the American Management Association have reported that on average, approximately 200,000 foreign-born Americans return to their nations of origin every year, this brain drain “stimulated in part by lucrative government incentives, has spawned flourishing new scientific havens from South Asia to Scandinavia.”2

One country that has actively encouraged both global and the return of native-born expatriate talent is China. Since 2010, the Chinese government has fostered a program called the Thousand Talents Plan that has succeeded in attracting top researchers, especially in the STEM fields, to relocate to China. While China has recently ordered its officials to quiet any discussion of this program due to increasing scrutiny by the U.S. government, the program has succeeded in attracting over 6,000 scientists with offers of generous research funding support and job offers at Chinese universities.3 “Perhaps most important,” one article in the Boston Globe recently stated, “China is…working to become a more attractive place for non-Chinese scientists to immigrate. These efforts range from minor (making the Thousand Talents application available in English) to the major (overhauling the immigration and visa system).”4

If the U.S. is to retain its predominant global position against such emergent actors like China, it must take the necessary steps to remain the top destination for global talent. Recent policy changes within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have, for example, have made it increasingly difficult for foreign-born students to remain in the U.S. after graduation, forcing many young people, who could otherwise make significant contributions to the U.S. economy, to take their skills and training with them back to the countries of origin.5 Such short-sighted measures will only hinder U.S. competitiveness in the long run. Instead of imposing unreasonably stringent requirements, and lower approval rates, for H-1s, L-1s, and other employment-based visas, the U.S. government needs a more enlightened approach that both facilitates U.S. employers’ acquisition of needed talent with a sensible vetting system to ensure compliance. We encourage productive collaboration between immigration attorneys, lawmakers, and other policy experts to develop laws and policies that fix problems in the current statutes and regulations, while providing employers and their global talent with a sensible, fair, and timely path to acquiring their visas. While China may be keeping mum on its aggressive talent acquisition program for the moment, the U.S. cannot afford to provoke a brain drain that will only further China’s goals.



  1. Ellen Sheng. “Silicon Valley is fighting a brain-drain war with Trump that it may lose.”, April 9, 2018:
  2. “Wake Up, America: The Alarming Realities of Today’s Reverse Brain Drain.” American Management Association:
  3. “Yuan Yang and Nian Liu. “China Hushes Up Scheme to Recruit Overseas Scientists.”
  4. Arthur W. Lambert. “Can the US stop the scientific brain drain to China?” Boston Globe, August 1, 2018:
  5. USCIS Policy Memorandum, Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants, August 9, 2018.

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