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My parents moved to the U.S. for a better life, but I’m returning to Asia for job opportunities

4 2 380
26.03.2019

When Judy Tsuei told her parents she was moving to Taipei, Taiwan, they were puzzled. “They were like, ‘Why? What the hell are you doing?'” she says. Her parents had immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan decades prior. “Putting myself in their shoes, it must be so weird because they worked so hard to get out of the country to go to America,” she says. “And then I was like, ‘Well, I’m just going to go back to where you left.'”

Right now, the foreign-born population in the U.S. (13.7%) is reportedly the highest it has been in over a century. Asian immigrants make up more than 30% of that group, and since 2010, 41% of immigrants have been from Asia, overtaking the number of people coming from Latin America. Nearly half the people who have arrived since 2010 are also college educated, and an overwhelming majority of H-1B visas–a temporary work visa for highly skilled foreign workers–are awarded to Indian immigrants.

“For Indians who now live in America, there’s this feeling like, ‘We made it. We left India,'” says Sonia Sen, who was raised in Phoenix, and now works in India. For many of them, leaving their home country was life-altering–a ticket to social mobility. But Sen and Tsuei are examples of how the U.S.-born children of Asian immigrants are now, conversely, seeking opportunities in the countries or cities their parents hailed from.

This reverse immigration speaks to the fact that in a few decades, Asia has become almost as much the land of opportunity as the U.S. was–and continues to be–for Asian immigrants. Today, China boasts the second-largest economy in the world, after the U.S.; Japan and India follow closely. Countless tech companies have made their homes in Asian cities, while some of the biggest players in the U.S. have spent years jockeying for market share in China and India. Add to that Trump’s election and his policy moves to curtail immigration, and it’s little surprise that Asia might........

© Fast Company