New Study Says Immigrants Fuel American Innovation

By Kenrya Rankin Mar 25, 2016

Despite the current crop of presidential nominees’ xenophobic obsession with limiting immigration, a new study shows that American business would take a major hit without the innovation that immigrants bring to its shores.

Recent research from non-partisan nonprofit National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) reveals that of the 87 American startups that are currently valued at $1 billion+, 44 of them (51 percent) were created by immigrants. The collective value of those companies sits at $168 billion. And 71 percent of all big-ticket startups have immigrants in key management or development roles, with CEO, CTO and VP of engineering as the most common job titles. The founders came from 20 countries, with India leading the way with 14 people. China, Argentina, Egypt and Iraq also appear on the list.

“Immigrants play a key role in creating new, fast-growing companies, as evidenced by the prevalence of foreign-born founders and key personnel in the nation’s leading privately-held companies,” Stuart Anderson, study author and NFAP executive director said in a press release. “The findings help illustrate the increasing importance and contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy.”

NFAP simultaneously released a policy brief on immigration law, in which the authors recommend that the U.S. government create a startup visa that would allow foreign nationals to stay and grow their businesses. The organization estimates that improving the process could create up to 3.2 million new jobs over the course of a decade.

Read the full report.