Paragon Law to co-fund PhD on Highly Skilled Migrants

Loughborough University and specialist immigration law firm Paragon Law are co-funding a policy relevant PhD on highly skilled migrants and their contribution to the UK “knowledge – economy”.

Thalej Vasishta, Managing Director of Paragon Law said “in the UK migrants have received extensive policy and press attention lately, most of it negative.  However, there is little empirical work or research on the economic contribution of highly skilled migrants, particularly in the arena of job and wealth creation either directly as entrepreneurs or as major contributors through their skills in start ups, SME’s and large corporations in the UK.  Furthermore there is little or no evidence of how migrants in the UK, in the context of an ever increasing global economy act as ambassadors or middle men to facilitate trade and investment between the UK and their country of origin”.

Mr Vasishta went on to say “that amongst other things the research will look at the success of Indian and Chinese communities in the UK and compare that to their counterparts in Silicon Valley.  This is not only because the UK sees China and India as two of the most important economies with which to forge closer relationships but also in the context of a knowledge based economy it is important to draw lessons on why the Indian and Chinese community have been far more successful in Silicon Valley than the UK.  Chinese and Indian nationals are currently running a quarter of Silicon Valley’s technology business and contribute 17% of the total turnover of the businesses in Silicon Valley and 14% of the jobs that have been created.  Moreover, Silicon Valley demonstrates that highly skilled migrants do not necessarily stay in the host country but help to forge knowledge and help foster relationships with their home countries.  Silicon Valley has helped the USA expand knowledge related businesses in some of the major cities in India, helping the USA’s trade with India.  Similar patterns are now emerging in some of the coastal cities in China”.

Dr Adam Warren, based in the Geography Department at Loughborough University said “the research will aim to explore the potential for highly skilled migrants to set up enterprises in the UK and investigate existing incentives and disincentives to migrant entrepreneurship in the UK, for example, transnational connections, Government policy and private equity”.

Dr Warren said “the student will be based in the Centre for Research in Identity, Governance and Society (CRIGS) which has research interests in education and learning, migration and governance”.

Mr Vasishta, who approached Loughborough University with the idea for this PhD said that he hoped that the research will help the UK Government in encouraging overseas entrepreneurs to start up or expand into the UK and to provide research on how to create incentives for this to happen.  Mr Vasishta said “there are lessons that we can learn from global regions such as Silicon Valley who have attracted foreign talent successfully and we can also learn from the perceptions and concerns of the foreign migrants themselves so that we are better placed in the global economy”.

The PhD will commence on the 1st January 2012 and closing date for applications is 1700 Friday, 28 October 2011.  Interviews are expected to take place during November 2011.