SAN FRANCISCO - A new study showing that immigrants founded one quarter of US technology start-up companies could fuel calls to relax immigration rules ahead of next month's US presidential elections, where the economy and immigration are key issues.

The study "America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Then and Now," shows that 24.3 percent of engineering and technology start-up companies have at least one immigrant founder serving in a key role. Indian-born entrepreneurs, representing 33 percent of the companies, dominated the group.

"High-skilled immigrants will remain a critical asset for maintaining US competitiveness in the global economy," wrote the authors of the study, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship.

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