The Immigration Preferences of Top AI Researchers: New Survey Evidence

Artificial intelligence (AI) talent is global. AI researchers and engineers come from, and are in high demand, all over theworld. Countries and companies trying to recruit and retain AI talent thus face immense competition. In order to understand current and prospective flows of talent, we investigate the drivers of AI researchers’ immigration decisions and preferences. Immigration questions are particularly salient for the United States today, as half of its current AI workforce and two-thirds of graduate students in AI-related graduate programs were born elsewhere. Some experts believe that the current U.S. immigration system will prevent or dissuade many of these international graduates from staying in the country, potentially undermining the vitality of the U.S. technology sector. Many other countries have also seen recent immigration policy debates centered on attracting AI talent. To better understand the immigration decisions and preferences of this global AI workforce, we conducted a survey of more than 500 active researchers who publish in the leading machine learning conferences.

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