Not too long ago, the Immigration Policy Center published a report speaking about the importance of immigrant labor and how it relates to the U.S. economy. The full document can be found here. In this post, I really wanted to take a few minutes to provide you with an overview of the main ideas covered in the report.
In general, it is important to understand that immigrants positively impact the economy. Immigrants are “workers, entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and consumers.” However, the current state of immigration law and policy makes it difficult for quality workers to come to the United States. It is time to understand the core problems and work to make the process better and more effective.
Idea #1: It is time to revisit employment-based immigration.
- If you take a good look, you will see that while global perspectives have changed over the last two decades, the employment-based immigration system has not. Immigration laws and policies must keep up with global changes.
- The temporary visa system needs to be updated. Current immigration law uses various categories in order to classify different types of workers. The H-1B visa is for highly skilled immigrants and a maximum of 65,000 visas can be issued for this category. Another 20,000 visas can be issued to professionals who graduate with a Masters or Doctorate from a U.S. university. The concern here is the fact that the caps are consistently being met each year, leaving many others unable to come to the U.S.
Idea #2: Is America still attracting the “best and brightest?”
- In today's global market, there are more nations than ever before that are “competing for international talent.” This means that in-demand immigrants have more choices about which country they think will offer the best opportunities for them and their families. While the U.S. drags its feet, other countries are constantly updating their immigration laws in order to stay competitive.
- Business-minded immigrants are not always leaving their home countries to head to a bigger or more advanced country. The Kauffman Foundation did a study and found that some immigrants who have initially left their countries for school or other opportunities are actually returning to their home countries to start their businesses there.
Idea #3: Does family-based immigration need to be reduced in order to expand employment-based immigration?
- Although this post is about how employment-based immigrants supplement the U.S. economy, family-based immigrants contribute as well. Generally, when families are reunited in the U.S., there is a “boost in the productivity of employment-based immigrants working in the U.S. because they no longer have to deal with the separation from their loved ones.”
- Both innovation and entrepreneurship are apparent with family-based immigration. Studies show that close family relationships “facilitate entrepreneurship because families can provide important resources that foster entrepreneurship, such as support in caring for children and working in family‐owned businesses.”
What do you think? Is now a good time for revisions to be made on employment-based immigration procedures? Would small changes be enough or is it necessary to execute a complete overhaul of the system?