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Why some foreign-born researchers choose to return home

Over the past decade, foreign-born scientists and engineers have dramatically expanded the U.S. workforce and ranks of higher education faculty. However, recently the number of Indian-born scientists and engineers returning to India has surged. This return migration trend is commonly referred to as "reverse brain drain."

To learn why some scientists stay in the U.S. and others return home, Meghna Sabharwal of the University of Texas at Dallas and Roli Varma of the University of New Mexico are studying the decision process underlying return migration of Indian faculty in science and engineering (S&E) and focusing on economic, political, social and cultural factors. The research focuses on Indian faculty because of their increasing presence and contribution to the S&E workforce in the U.S. and to economic growth.

Sabharwal and Varma have found that Indian scientists and engineers return to their birth country because of expanding opportunities for career growth, cultural and familial connections and burdens associated with the U.S. immigration system. Government programs and increased research funding in India have improved job opportunities and security in that country. For their study, the researchers interviewed 82 returnees in India and 50 faculty members who decided to stay in the U.S.

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  • large numbers of indian scientists and engineers are choosing to return to their home country
Indian scientists and engineers are returning to their home country in large numbers.
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