Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

Talent Pool Increasingly Global: EU Blue Cards Proposed, Migrant Policy Web Site Launched

Will the European Union (EU) and other countries’ aggressive recruitment strategies leave the U.S. behind in the dust? Robert Hoffman of Oracle warned that could be the case if the U.S. continues down its current discouraging path. With the proposed EU “blue card” for highly skilled workers looming on the horizon, Mr. Hoffman noted in the October 25, 2007, edition of Information Week that “[t]he competition for talent is truly global” and that the EU “clearly recognizes the challenges of an aging population and that highly talented individuals are job generators.” Franco Frattini, European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security, said in a speech at the London School of Economics that it is essential for the EU to “become a real magnet for highly skilled immigrants.”

The proposed renewable EU blue card would allow workers to live and work in an EU nation for three years after an application process taking three months, and would allow them to bring their immediate families. Technology companies are likely to invest and expand wherever it is easier for tech employees to work, Mr. Hoffman said, noting that “[t]he competition for talent is truly global.” Hoffman said that “if the U.S. immigration policy continues on this path, what choice do we have” but to begin looking elsewhere to expand its options.

A recent graduate of Cornell University who has accepted a postdoctoral stint at the National Institutes of Health commented, “I certainly can’t put my life on hold for another 5 to 10 years waiting for a green card, and most definitely cannot live permanently in this toxic anti-immigrant environment.” Another said, “I have recently been transferred to the USA by my company. I can see the red tape and the 10-year wait to get a green card. I don’t have the patience or inclination to stay past my initial visa when I can work anywhere in Europe by virtue of my EU passport. The red tape here, and the abrasiveness towards foreigners in general, make this an unattractive place to be.”

Leonard Lynn, a professor of management policy at Case Western Reserve University, and Harold Salzman, a sociologist and senior research associate at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., recently authored “The Real Global Technology Challenge” for Change magazine. They recently asked a class of 80 engineering and science graduates in India how many wanted to go to the U.S. A decade ago, the authors said, almost every hand would have gone up. But now, nobody raised their hand. “Why go to the U.S. when all the opportunity is in India?” the Indian graduates suggested. The authors also noted that Chinese managers they met who had received U.S. degrees were choosing to return to China rather than stay in the U.S., as they had previously planned to do, because opportunities in China were becoming more appealing.

The authors believe that the U.S. is “no longer the universally preferred home for the global technology elite,” observing that increasing numbers of scientists and engineers who were educated and have built successful careers in the U.S. are returning to China, India, and other countries, and that many in the younger generation are simply not coming to the U.S. in the first place. Noting these trends, the authors note that “the policy and technology communities are sounding the alarm about an impending U.S. fall from scientific and technological dominance.” The declining appeal of science and engineering for American students is compounding the problem, the authors argue, while the numbers of engineers and scientists trained in China and India continue to rise. A summary of this article is available at

Meanwhile, the British Council and Migration Policy Group, leading a consortium of 25 organizations, has launched a Web site, the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), which measures policies to integrate migrants in 25 European Union (EU) Member States and three non-EU countries. MIPEX, which is co-financed by the EU, uses over 100 policy indicators to create a multi-dimensional picture of migrants’ opportunities to participate in European societies. MIPEX covers six policy areas that shape a migrant’s journey to full citizenship: labor market access, family reunion, long-term residence, political participation, access to nationality, and anti-discrimination. The site includes country profiles and an interactive mapping and charting function.

Over the coming months, the MIPEX Group will host a series of “launch debates” in various European cities. Information on the debates is available at MIPEX, and abridged versions of the study, will be available in a number of languages, including English, French, Spanish, German and Polish. MIPEX is available at

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About the Author

Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.