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The Talent Mobility Fund is a new philanthropic fund focused on helping talent move to opportunity through the increased use of existing immigration pathways.

Read the White Paper: Philanthropy’s Role in Shaping The Future of Immigration

This white paper articulates the role philanthropic funding could play in creating, supporting, and expanding pathways for talent to move to opportunity. It covers the benefits of increased immigration, opportunities opened up by recent policy changes in the U.S., EU, and Japan, and key bottlenecks to realizing these opportunities, such as financing, awareness, skills certification, and language barriers. The aim of this white paper is to lay an intellectual foundation for a new philanthropic effort to tackle these bottlenecks, the Talent Mobility Fund, and to serve as a resource for existing and prospective immigration funders.

From an EA perspective, increasing immigration to higher-income countries through existing pathways is a way to reduce poverty, boost economic growth, and even contribute to safe AI governance (e.g. by securing the US AI lead over China). As the white paper outlines, philanthropy in this area is very neglected.




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Downsides and risks should also be considered. You write:

and even contribute to safe AI governance (e.g. by securing the US AI lead over China)

but it could also accelerate AI capabilities progress, which would leave less time for AI safety work.

There's also the meat-eater problem, i.e. increasing animal product consumption and factory farming, if we help move people to countries where they'll consume more animal products.

Thank you, good to flag these points. 

Regarding the AI Safety point, I want to think through this more, but I note that the alignment approach of OpenAI is very capabilities-driven, requiring talent and compute to align AI using AI. I think one's belief of the sign of immigration on x-risk here might depend on how much you think top labs like OpenAI actually take the safety risks seriously. If they do, more immigration can help them make safe AI.

Regarding the meat-eater problem, I think the possibility of an animal Kuznets curve is relevant. If such a relationship exists (and there is some evidence it might), speeding up economic growth through immigration to higher-income countries might reduce animal suffering in the long-run.

Or perhaps we're just in a state of cluelessness here...

FWIW, I believe not every problem has to be centered around “cool” cause areas, and in this case I’d argue both animal welfare and AI Safety should not be significantly affected.

I think the biggest criticism that this cause will face from an EA perspective is that it's going to be pretty hard to argue for moving more talent to first-world countries to do random things than either convincing more medical, educational or business talent to move to developing countries to help them develop or to focus on bringing more talent to top cause areas. I'm not saying that such a case couldn't be made, just that I think it'd be tricky.

Yeah I have a feeling that the best way to argue for this on EA grounds might surprisingly be on the basis of richer world economic growth, which is kind of antithetical with EA's origins, but has been argued to be of overwhelming importance e.g.:

The question of whether net outflows of talented workers might be bad for some of the worst off countries is a thorny one which probably differs on a sector by sector and even person by person basis (LMICs have shortages of certain skillsets themselves, but there are other fields in which talented workers simply won't get the opportunity without moving, and sending remittances home adds value to overseas economies too). It's interesting the white paper picks UK social care institutions generally being unable to recruit in Africa as an example, since the reason isn't that agencies specialising in social care recruitment from overseas don't exist, but that they're  restricted from doing so by the UK respecting a WHO red list identifying countries with domestic healthcare worker shortages.

But I'd have thought the most straightforward criticism from an EA perspective is that the issue of skilled migration isn't exactly neglected, and (in the medium run at least) migration to richer countries is self funding, implying that most institutions aiding the process need not depend on philanthropy. Firms and research institutions have strong incentives to acquire overseas talent, middlemen have financial incentives to help them, and the pay differences cover those costs. (The flip side of this, I guess, is that grants to incubate new projects can have returns that compound in the long term)

Not sure I entirely agree with the second paragraph. The white paper outlines how philanthropy in this area is quite neglected, and there are organisations like LaMP which could certainly use more funding. Page 5 of the white paper also outlines bottlenecks in the process - even if firms do have strong incentives to acquire talent there can be informational gaps that prevent them from finding the best individuals, and similar informational gaps exist for the individuals that prevent them from actively utilising the best pathways. 

Having said that I'm not claiming this is the best use of EA dollars - just posting for people's information.

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