A strong culture of entrepreneurship is often considered essential for economic prosperity. But what factors favour the growth of entrepreneurialism? And what can governments do to encourage it? 

Based on the assumption that migrants often make good entrepreneurs, some countries have adopted a policy of “selective immigration” favouring visa applications from the “brightest and best”, i.e. applicants with high-level skills or an entrepreneurial profile.

However, such policies are controversial from several points of view. Critics claim that tough conditions for obtaining work or study visas dissuade potential entrepreneurs from coming.

For example, Vivek Wadhwa, an immigrant tech entrepreneur and academic based in the United States, argues in his book The Immigrant Exodus that “America is losing the global race to capture entrepreneurial talent”.

And recent figures for the UK show a 20% fall in student visas from 2011 to 2012.

Watch the following video from the Financial Times and answer the comprehension questions below. You may wish to answer the quiz at the bottom of the page first in order to check the vocabulary you need.

 

Comprehension questions (click to open)

Over to you!

We will discuss the following questions in class.
In preparation, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Do you agree with policies of “selective immigration”?
    If so, which criteria should be used to select and attract the “best and brightest”?
  • What other policies can governments enact to encourage entrepreneurialism?
  • Do you plan to migrate in order to pursue your professional career?

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