Emigration: Called It!!!

(Thanks, Julie!)

And so it continues - called it!

By the way, keep in mind that while the following article focuses primarily on Asians, Africans are experiencing the same thing.  In fact, the BBC has devoted an entire series to the "African Dream".

And now, it's with great glee that I present this article from the New York Times:
Samir N. Kapadia seemed to be on the rise in Washington, moving from an internship on Capitol Hill to jobs at a major foundation and a consulting firm. Yet his days, he felt, had become routine.

By contrast, friends and relatives in India, his native country, were telling him about their lives in that newly surging nation. One was creating an e-commerce business, another a public relations company, still others a magazine, a business incubator and a gossip and events Web site.

“I’d sit there on Facebook and on the phone and hear about them starting all these companies and doing all these dynamic things,” recalled Mr. Kapadia, 25, who was born in India but grew up in the United States. “And I started feeling that my 9-to-5 wasn’t good enough anymore.”

Last year, he quit his job and moved to Mumbai.

In growing numbers, experts say, highly educated children of immigrants to the United States are uprooting themselves and moving to their ancestral countries. They are embracing homelands that their parents once spurned but that are now economic powers.

Some, like Mr. Kapadia, had arrived in the United States as young children, becoming citizens, while others were born in the United States to immigrant parents.

Enterprising Americans have always sought opportunities abroad. But this new wave underscores the evolving nature of global migration, and the challenges to American economic supremacy and competitiveness.

In interviews, many of these Americans said they did not know how long they would live abroad; some said it was possible that they would remain expatriates for many years, if not for the rest of their lives.

Their decisions to leave have, in many cases, troubled their immigrant parents. Yet most said they had been pushed by the dismal hiring climate in the United States or pulled by prospects abroad.

“Markets are opening; people are coming up with ideas every day; there’s so much opportunity to mold and create,” said Mr. Kapadia, now a researcher at Gateway House, a new foreign-policy research organization in Mumbai. “People here are running much faster than the people in Washington.”

For generations, the world’s less-developed countries have suffered so-called brain drain — the flight of many of their best and brightest to the West. That has not stopped, but now a reverse flow has begun, particularly to countries like China and India and, to a lesser extent, Brazil and Russia.

Some scholars and business leaders contend that this emigration does not necessarily bode ill for the United States. They say young entrepreneurs and highly educated professionals sow American knowledge and skills abroad. At the same time, these workers acquire experience overseas and build networks that they can carry back to the United States or elsewhere — a pattern known as “brain circulation.”

But the experts caution that in the global race for talent, the return of these expatriates to the United States and American companies is no longer a sure bet.

“These are the fleet-footed; they’re the ones who in a sense will follow opportunity,” said Demetrios G. Papademetriou, president of the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit group in Washington that studies population movements.

“I know there will be people who will argue all about loyalty, et cetera, et cetera,” he said. “I know when you go to war, loyalty matters. But this is a different kind of war that affects all of us.”

The United States government does not collect data specifically on the emigration of the American-born children of immigrants — or on those who were born abroad but moved to the United States as young children.

But several migration experts said the phenomenon was significant and increasing.

“We’ve gone way beyond anecdotal evidence,” said Edward J. W. Park, director of the Asian Pacific American Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Mr. Park said this migration was spurred by the efforts of some overseas governments to attract more foreign talent by offering employment, investment, tax and visa incentives.

“So it’s not just the individuals who are making these decisions,” he said. “It’s governments who enact strategic policies to facilitate this.”

Officials in India said they had seen a sharp increase in the arrival of people of Indian descent in recent years — including at least 100,000 in 2010 alone, said Alwyn Didar Singh, a former senior official at the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

Many of these Americans have been able to leverage family networks, language skills and cultural knowledge gleaned from growing up in immigrant households.

Jonathan Assayag, 29, a Brazilian-American born in Rio de Janeiro and raised in South Florida, returned to Brazil last year. A Harvard Business School graduate, he had been working at an Internet company in Silicon Valley and unsuccessfully trying to develop a business.

“I spent five months spending my weekends at Starbucks, trying to figure out a start-up in America,” he recalled.

All the while, Harvard friends urged him to make a change. “They were saying: ‘Jon, what are you doing? Go to Brazil and start a business there!’ ” he said.

Relocating to São Paulo, he became an “entrepreneur in residence” at a venture capital firm. He is starting an online eyewear business. “I speak the language, I get the culture, I understand how people do business,” he said.

Calvin Chin was born in Michigan and used to live in San Francisco, where he worked at technology start-ups and his wife was an interior decorator. Mr. Chin’s mother was from China, as were his paternal grandparents. His wife’s parents were from Taiwan.

They are now in Shanghai, where Mr. Chin has started two companies — an online loan service for students and an incubator for technology start-ups. His wife, Angie Wu, has worked as a columnist and television anchor.

The couple have two children, who were born in China.

“The energy here is phenomenal,” Mr. Chin said.

Reetu Jain, 36, an Indian-American raised in Texas, was inspired to move to India while taking time off from her auditing job to travel abroad. Everywhere she went, she said, she met people returning to their countries of origin and felt the “creative energy” in the developing world.

She and her husband, Nehal Sanghavi, who had been working as a lawyer in the United States, moved to Mumbai in January 2011. Embracing a long-held passion, she now works as a dance instructor and choreographer and has acted in television commercials and a Bollywood film.

“We’re surrounded by people who just want to try something new,” Ms. Jain said.

For many of these émigrés, the decision to relocate has confounded — and even angered — their immigrant parents.

When Jason Y. Lee, who was born in Taiwan and raised in the United States, told his parents during college that he wanted to visit Hong Kong, his father refused to pay for the plane ticket.

“His mind-set was, ‘I worked so hard to bring you to America and now you want to go back to China?’ ” recalled Mr. Lee, 29.

Since then, Mr. Lee has started an import-export business between the United States and China; studied in Shanghai; worked for investment banks in New York and Singapore; and created an international job-search Web site in India. He works for an investment firm in Singapore. His father’s opposition has softened.

Margareth Tran — whose family followed a path over two generations from China to the United States by way of Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong and France — said her father was displeased by her decision in 2009 to relocate.

“It’s kind of crazy for him that I wanted to move to China,” said Ms. Tran, 26, who was born in France and moved to the United States at age 11. “He wants me to have all the benefits that come from a first-world country.”

But after graduating from Cornell University in 2009 at the height of the recession, she could not find work on Wall Street, a long-held ambition. She moved to Shanghai and found a job at a management consulting firm.

“I had never stepped foot in Asia, so part of the reason was to go back to my roots,” she said.

Ms. Tran said she did not know how long she would remain abroad. She said she was open to various possibilities, including moving to another foreign country, living a life straddling China and the United States or remaining permanently in China.

Her father has reluctantly accepted her approach.

“I told him, ‘I’m going to try to make it in China, and if things work out for me in China, then I can have a really great career,’ ” she said. “He didn’t hold me back.”
The comments are entertaining as hell. Folks are either fully supportive of the article, or outright furious - seriously, they're hilarious.


  1. Leo Princess4/24/12, 9:08 PM

    "or outright furious"

    I can imagine.

  2. truthbetold4/24/12, 9:18 PM

    I'm not surprised. We did that, in a few countries, sugar cane, chicken and potato to be exact.

    America believes itself to be the superpower of the world. Imagine their righteous indignation to learn that foreigners actually WANT to leave.

    1. As do some of its "natural born" citizens. Folks tired of the bullshit and the myth.

    2. Hell I've been wanting to relocate to Canada for a minute.

    3. I was headed out of the country for a job in SK or Brazil.....have degrees will travel...lol...I told my mom being an American means very little to me...being well feed and having housing (wherever that maybe) was much more important......I am African-American and moving to another country and trying something new looks more and more promising.....and I am meeting more and more highly educated Black expats.....My sister is one here is her blog

    4. Brotha and Neo,

      Let me join the both of you to Canada.

  3. This is very, very true (not to mention, fabulous!). And it’s not only PoC USians who are emigrating. International Students from the "developing" world are willingly and increasingly going back to their own countries. Our economies are booming and many of us have realized that life is *much* better back home. So, rather than live on bare-minimum rights, ridiculous visa restrictions, drained life-savings and toil away for that (once) coveted Green Card, a lot of non-domestic students pack up after college and head back.

    1. As an international student who got married and is working on getting my green card, I really just wish I could pack me and the hubby up and go back rather than continue living with "bare-minimum rights, ridiculous visa restrictions, drained life-saving". I'm sick of being treated like I should grovel with gratitude for being allowed to exist as a second class human being in the West.

    2. "rather than live on bare-minimum rights, ridiculous visa restrictions, drained life-savings"

      If my husband and I hadn't already started the Green card process, I would pack us both up and take us back to Dubai in a heartbeat. I'm so sick of being asked to grovel with gratitude for being allowed existence as a third class human being.

  4. And now that they've used American resources they are taking them with them.

    Paul Mooney had a joke about the 9/11 suicide bombers and about how the government paid for these terrorists to go to school, with no questions asked but if black people tried to become pilots all kinds of questions would be raised.

    I mean good for them, but Paul Mooney's point about how self defeating white priviledge is was very funny.

    I mean I understand Capitalism to a certain extent but protect your own freaking interest first and foremost. Duh. *SMH*

  5. America believes itself to be the superpower of the world. Imagine their righteous indignation to learn that foreigners actually WANT to leave.

    Few people know that 2/3 of the people who immigrated from Europe went back home after three years. They came, they worked, saved a bit of money, and they left. Most foreigners, even white ones, donn't stay and put down roots. Most of the Irish stayed until the worst of the potato famine was over. A small minority put down roots here and there you have the Irish American community, just for example.

    So this isn't really anything new. It's just more notable when the intelligentsia instead of the working class do it.

    1. Leo Princess4/25/12, 5:27 PM

      "Few people know that 2/3 of the people who immigrated from Europe went back home after three years. They came, they worked, saved a bit of money, and they left. Most foreigners, even white ones, donn't stay and put down roots. Most of the Irish stayed until the worst of the potato famine was over."

      I guess they didn't have time to mention that in the grade school history books.

  6. The amount of "you'll come crying back to us" comments really say a lot about this country we live in. Nit only do they ignore the fact that these people going back won't have to deal with "chink in the armor" and the like, but the ignore the entire point of the article: That there are little to no opportunities here and PLENTY over there. So what would they want to come back here for?

    1. Leo Princess4/25/12, 5:29 PM

      Those folks are acting as if they relished having 'foreigners' in 'their country' in the first place. You'd think they'd be celebrating!

    2. Yeah, what's up with that? I thought all "real Americans" would be rejoicing.

      Man, if they think the economy sucks now....

  7. Just before the 2008 election, one of my coworkers made a comment that this would be the last term in which the POTUS was leading the world's most powerful nation. No one there disagreed...bear in mind we work in finance, where it's kind of their job to predict trends.

  8. In a few years we're planning on joining the family overseas.
    I plan to open a little bakery and my family will get deeper into sugar cane farming. We'll continue to travel back and forth to the states but when things pick up...that's it for us.

    Goodbye AmericKKKa.

  9. I read some of those comments, and they are quite precious. They remind me of something I just read on the Lesbian Brooklynite's blog today http://lesbianbrooklynite.com/2012/04/11/quick-update/

    They need you around, so they can reject and hate you.
    Anna Renee

  10. I would LOVE to move to someplace on the beautiful African continent. I don't believe for a moment that Africa is the shit hole they like to pretend it is. If it was, they wouldn't be there, raping the resources, and trying to take over. When you ask them to leave or kick them out, they whine about how crappy it is....all the while trying their damndest to sneak back in. The West is built on the blood sweat and tears of so many black and brown people that it's day of reckoning MUST come. Cause and effect is the law of the Universe. I wonder what will happen when the global minority truly experiences minority status. We all know they don't deal very well with adversity. One day in our collective shoes with drive to extinction by mass suicide. I really worry about the future of these people.

  11. Yep! As a kid, I remembered those commercials about retirement and how jobs were plentiful. Now it has now becoming a thing of the past.

    I've heard that people, with immigrant parents or not,are going to countries like China, Korea,India or Dubai, UAE to seek prosperity.My brother is a blue collar worker was telling me about how many workers,many who were from different countries, have retired and decided to return to their native lands because of what you have mentioned. To the, the states have become more hostile to them and the " land of opportunity" have become the land of disappointment.

    America isn't what it was. With it's blatant racism against immigrants and POC's, it has an unattractive place for them as well as American bred minorities. Though the guys mentioned in the past are American, you can understand why they have gone to their parents former home to do better there. My sister works for a job that gives their employees a chance to go to Singapore to work. She had thoughts about doing it but because of her kids this is why she choose to remain in the states.

    1. The land of disappointment indeed.

      Besides, there's this dynamic energy abroad, this new confidence and optimism in POC worldwide, which we haven't experienced in centuries. America seems so stale and sour in comparison.

  12. Can't move back to Russia - they'd throw me in jail for being queer. And Jewish.

    I like how intrepid these young adults are. :) Even if they speak the language of their ancestral countries, they're not plugged into the culture. I hope they all do really well.

  13. *Sigh* I am equal parts happy and sad. On the one hand, it's great that the shadow of colonialism is beginning to lift off of countries like India. On the other hand, as an African American, I'm stuck with these clowns on a sinking ship until further notice. I really, really wish my elders had taken the more independent approach to Black Empowerment.

    1. Our elders should have stayed with the Marcus Garvey approach. Im afraid the MLK approach did not work as well as we hoped.


  14. They shouldn't be so mad because it's true that a lot of US residents are thinking about leaving the country. There are actually a lot more opportunities abroad.


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