Monday, September 21, 2009

Globalization, migration and reverse immigration

I came across the interesting article in today’s USA Today titled "World's talent opts to leave USA" The front page article builds on research from Duke University's Vivek Wadhwa, who studies reverse immigration. It is also a topic that is hotly debated among immigrants, especially those from India and China. [Links to articles on Returning To India].

What the article does not talk about is the story of scores of Indians and Chinese who effortlessly switch between continents, helping bridge the global divide if you will.

A few weeks ago I met a fellow Desi (Indian American) at a Holiday Inn in Cincinnati where I happened to be staying for the night. He had migrated to Ohio about 15 years ago, got his green card and naturalized as an American citizen along with his wife and kids a few years ago. He then decided to move back to India and found a job with a software firm in Chandigarh though he was from Mumbai. Things didn’t work out as planned on the work front but his wife and kids liked it there, especially as the kids had started a new school year. They decided to stay back while he was back in Ohio, looking to re-join HP-EDS, his previous employer

I guess, my story is a bit like this too. I have spent over a decade in the US. However, unlike other typical immigrant (or reverse immigrant) stories, mine happens to be that of a global journeyman. After migrating to the States, obtaining a “coveted” Green Card, I moved back to India and joined an Indian software giant (Infosys). After spending for a while "offshore" and authoring a book on Offshoring, I moved back to Anytown USA. Based here, I also travel to Canada, Europe and elsewhere . . wherever business opportunities take me. Do I consider America "Home" Sure! Do I think of India as "Back Home" Sure!

Wonder where research on migration and reverse immigration leaves folks like me? And mind you, I am not the only one on this globalization journey.

ps: Vivek Wadhwa also frequently writes on the topic in BusinessWeek (Why Skilled Immigrants Are Leaving the U.S.)

Other interesting blogs on the topic