Report calls attention to the remarkable role of immigrant entrepreneurs in the artificial intelligence industry in the U.S.

Immigrants have founded or cofounded nearly two-thirds of the top AI companies in the United States, according to a new National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analysis entitled AI and Immigrants. The author Stuart Anderson used the Forbes list of the top 50 AI companies as the main source of his analysis.  The NFAP report gives the names of these immigrant founders, their countries of origin, and the number of employees in their companies. Many of these founders began their careers as international students at American universities. Forty-two percent (18 of 43) of the top U.S.-based AI companies had a founder who started out as an international student.  Remarkably, 70 percent of full-time U.S. graduate students in fields related to artificial intelligence are international students, In light of these findings, the author emphasizes how important the retention of international students in this field will be for the future of America’s leadership in artificial intelligence. The report ends by reaffirming the policy recommendations in the 2021 final report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. These include: providing a separate pathway to permanent residence for immigrants with Ph.D.’s from U.S. universities in STEM fields and doubling the annual limit on employment-based immigrant visas. The countries with the highest number of immigrant entrepreneurs in top AI firms are India (10 founders), Israel (3), the U.K. (3), Canada (2), China (2) and France (2), but founders also come from 15 other countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Taiwan, Syria, and Poland.  According to the author, this small, but burgeoning technology will be transformative across society, and “the nations that best develop and integrate AI will likely be the most productive and do the most to improve their citizens’ living standards.” (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

AI and Immigrants
National Foundation for American Policy, June 2023, 15 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson