‘America First’ Helps Other Countries Attract Tech Talent

August 3rd, 2017

other countries attract tech talent

By Michael Solomon, 10x Management Co-Founder

Earlier this year, I went on Bloomberg TV and discussed the potential impact of the Trump administration’s immigration policy changes on the long-term health of the American economy. Now those concerns are becoming a reality.

Many immigrants feel less welcome in the United States than they used to. Combine that with the Trump administration’s crackdown on H1B Visas, and America’s tech industry, which relies on skilled foreign labor, will soon find itself falling behind on innovation. But like all things in life, balance tends to win out, and one country’s loss is another’s gain.

According to the New York Times, countries like Canada, Mexico, and China are all working hard to attract and welcome top tech engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world. Silicon Valley may not be the tech center of the universe for long, as cities like Toronto, Beijing, and Jalisco State begin to make their pitches to the world’s most talented technologists. “Innovation has no borders,” one slogan goes from Jalisco State in Mexico. This slogan is certainly more catchy and welcoming to the rest of the world than “America First.”

While Trump is rightly concerned about American jobs, his unique brand of protectionism and limiting skilled foreign workers is shortsighted and a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem. The United States needs to focus on educating our youngest minds to be competitive in the tech sector. Start teaching kids about computers and programming in middle school and let them flourish. In the meantime, retrain American workers to be competitive in technology.

Other governments are viewing our policy foibles as a tremendous opportunity to lure talent and entrepreneurs to their countries. Continuing our closed-door policy will lead to more jobs and tax revenue for other countries and fewer for the U.S. What a shame.​ All of this is in the misguided name of creating and protecting American jobs. ​

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