A professor of sociology at the University of California, Professor Light has researched and written extensively on migrant enterprise since the early 1970s.
“Other English-speaking countries have immigrants, but what’s key is that Ireland also has large number of expatriates elsewhere in the world. Both are important resources for exporting,” he said.
“Historically, migrants have been key agents of enterprise, both for the countries from which they come and the countries to which they move. They are well endowed to do the work of linking and integrating economies.
“Quite often, they are bi- or multi-lingual; they develop strong understandings of multiple cultures and business environments; they have international networks; and they can perceive business opportunities that might not be obvious to those not coming from migrant backgrounds.”
Emphasis added. What is holding Ireland back right now is the novelty of substantial immigration to the country. More from the same above article:
“In cities such as Amsterdam, Strasbourg and Vienna, migrant enterprises now comprise over 40pc of all businesses. In the likes of Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Zurich, that figure is around 20pc,” said Denise Charlton, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
“Migrant entrepreneurship is at a more nascent stage in Ireland, because high levels of immigration are a relatively new phenomenon here. However, it’s clear that, if we foster the entrepreneurial spirit of our migrant population, and capitalise on their linguistic skills and international outlooks, there is a real opportunity to boost the Irish economy.”
Emphasis added. The lack of inmigration of talent is similar to the plight of many Rust Belt cities. The problem isn't brain drain or outmigration. The issue is too few people moving to these struggling communities. Regardless, both Ireland and the Rust Belt must learn how to benefit from brain drain.