Gov Snyder calls for new program to attract, welcome immigrants to state | Michigan Radio

Gov Snyder calls for new program to attract, welcome immigrants to state

Feb 15, 2012

Governor Snyder has said the state needs to do more to attract immigrants, and get them to stay once they’re here.

In his recent budget proposal, Governor Snyder calls for the creation of a Cultural Ambassador program to attract and welcome immigrants to the state, which is similar to a program he helped create when he worked at Ann Arbor SPARK.

Steve Tobocman heads the pro-immigration group Global Detroit. His group put out a study in 2010 that found a third of Michigan’s high tech firms were created by immigrants over the past decade. 

"When you look through that lens," says Tobocman, "you see that - particularly in Michigan - our international population has been by far a huge positive net contributor to the economic prosperity and opportunity for us all."

Some other key findings from Global Detroit's study:

  • Immigrants residing in southeast Michigan are 150 percent as likely to possess a four-year college degree than the non-immigrant population.
  • 45 percent of international patent applications from Michigan had a foreign born inventor and foreign born residents in Michigan are more than seven times as likely to file an international patent as non-immigrant residents.
  • Michigan’s foreign born were more than three times as likely as non-immigrants to start a new business between 1996 and 2007.

Under the governor’s direction, a Global Michigan Immigration Initiative was established last year to recruit highly educated immigrants with advanced degrees to the state.