HL Deb 25 June 1998 vol 591 cc34-5WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many British scientists and technologists emigrated from the United Kingdom to the United States in the last one year, two years, five years and 10 years; what has been the average cost to the British taxpayer of their education and training; and whether in the Government's view these costs amount to a subsidy from the British taxpayer to the American economy; and [HL2298]

Whether they have any intention of reclaiming from the United States for the British taxpayer the cost of the education and training of scientific and technological emigrants. [HL2299]

Lord Clinton-Davis

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) publishes data on immigrant scientists, engineers and technicians. The latest available year with data for immigrants from the UK is 1993. The figures for the period 1988 to 1993 are as follows:

1988: 776; 1989: 745; 1990: 781; 1991: 680; 1992: 1,266; 1993: 1,026.

The data are based on self-classification by the immigrants, and do not include those who cite their occupation as researcher, manager, teacher or student.

A briefing paper put out by the NSF in June last year noted that the overall pattern of immigration of scientists and engineers in the 1980s was quite stable, but changed dramatically from 1990–93 as a result of changes enacted in the US Immigration Act of 1990. It went on to note that in 1994 there had been a major decline in total admissions, but a detailed breakdown showing the UK position that year is, I understand, not yet available.

There are no data on the average cost to the British taxpayer of the education and training of the emigrants concerned, and the Government have no intention of pursuing the related issues which the Questions raise.