June 21, 2012

THE RIGHT'S FEAR OF COMPETITION AND MARKETS:

How Skilled Immigrants Create Jobs: The Employ American Workers Act has achieved three things: Lost ideas. Lost jobs. Lost taxes. (MATTHEW J. SLAUGHTER, 6/20/12, WSJ)

Won't more immigrant graduates staying in America mean fewer jobs for Americans? No. On the contrary, they will create jobs for Americans--in large corporations and new companies alike. Large companies that hire skilled immigrants tend to hire more U.S. nationals as well. Bill Gates has testified that for every immigrant hire at Microsoft, an average of four non-immigrant employees are hired.

As for start-ups, a 2007 study by researchers at Duke and UC Berkeley found that 25% of all U.S. high-technology firms established between 1995 and 2005 had at least one foreign-born founder. In 2005, these new companies employed 450,000 workers and generated over $50 billion in sales.

Skilled immigrants have long supported U.S. jobs and living standards. They bring human capital, financial capital, and connections to opportunities abroad. Despite all this dynamism, U.S. policy toward skilled immigrants has long been far too restrictive. The H1-B program, which accounts for nearly all of America's legal skilled immigration, imposes a cap of 85,000 visas annually--65,000 with at least a bachelor's degree and 20,000 with at least a master's degree. For years, demand far exceeded the supply. In 2007, the year before the financial crisis struck, more than 150,000 H1-B applications were submitted on the first day.

Since the financial crisis, America's immigration policy has further tightened. Buried in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was the Employ American Workers Act, which restricted H1-B hiring at any U.S. company that received government support from either TARP or new Federal Reserve credit facilities. This act foolishly hurt hundreds of finance companies by limiting their talent pool precisely when they needed new talent the most.

Posted by at June 21, 2012 5:39 AM
  

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