In a recent YaleGlobal article, Vivek Wadhwa echoed some of the concerns I've had about Indian and Chinese engineers and scientists returning to their home countries. My observations have been anecdotal, while Vivek is now backing up this phenomenon with hard research.
Here are a few excepts from his article:
"Although India and China have long decried the "brain drain“, they have not been able to entice many of their ex-pats to return home. That appears to be changing, and fast. The reason is the strong economic growth rates in those countries coupled with enhanced entrepreneurial opportunities and rapidly rising standards of living and wages."
"The net result of this turnabout could be a drop in US innovation as more talent decides to return to their birthplace or that of their parents. Such a shift is good for China and India but bad for the US. That foreigners residing in the US contribute enormously to innovation is beyond dispute. My research teams at Duke University calculated that foreign nationals residing in the United States were named as inventors or co-inventors in one quarter of WIPO patent applications filed from the United States in 2006. Additionally, 16.8 percent of international patent applications had an inventor or co-inventor of Chinese heritage and 13.7 percent had an inventor or co-inventor of Indian heritage. By way of comparison, ethnic Chinese and Indians collectively represent less than 3 percent of the total US population."
"And contrary to claims that immigrant patent-filers crowd out US-born researchers, emerging research is increasingly showing that immigrants actually tend to boost patent output by their US born colleagues. These immigrant patent-filers emerged from the US university system, where foreigners now dominate the advance degree seeking ranks in science, technology, engineering and mathematical disciplines. For example, during the 2004–2005 academic year, roughly 60 percent of engineering Ph.D. students and 40 percent of Master’s students were foreign nationals."
"In a similar study of over 1,200 foreign national students matriculating in the US, we found that only 6 percent of Indian, 10 percent of Chinese, and 15 percent of European students said they want to stay permanently."