Immigrants with advanced degrees and temporary foreign workers boost employment for U.S. natives, and the United States should adjust its policies to bring more of them, according to a Dec. 15 study (.pdf) from the American Enterprise Institute and the Partnership for a New American Economy.
The data shows that an additional 100 foreign-born workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields with advanced degrees from U.S. universities is associated with 262 more jobs among U.S. natives. There are 86 more U.S. native jobs for every 100 foreign-born workers in STEM fields with advanced degrees from U.S. or foreign universities, and there are 44 more U.S. native jobs when those 100 foreign-born workers have advanced degrees regardless of field or where they obtained them.
As for temporary foreign workers, states with 100 more workers in the H-1B visa program had 183 more jobs among U.S. natives, and 100 more H-2B visa workers resulted in 464 jobs for U.S. natives.
The author, Madeline Zavodny, an economics professor at Agnes Scott College, adds that these results occur even in a system that prioritizes family reunification over employment-based immigration and has millions of unauthorized workers.
Zavodny also notes that the study may underestimate the positive effects of immigration. Since the study examines data on a state-by-state basis, it does not account for when immigrants create jobs in other states, like if a business in one state that benefits from immigration adds jobs at a subsidiary in another state.
And since research tends to show that the economy benefits from immigration more in the long-term, the study underestimates the effects because it only covers the period from 2000 to 2010, Zavodny says.
Because immigrants tend to be more mobile than natives and are likely to go to states that already have strong job opportunities, the study was designed to determine the effect of immigration independent of employment opportunities.
Additional benefits that the study finds include that, on average, immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive from major federal programs like welfare, unemployment benefits, food stamps and Medicaid. Zavodny notes that this does not factor in indirect economic impacts of immigration like increased economic activity, which leads to higher tax revenues in general.
She recommends that the United States prioritize immigration of workers in STEM fields who hold advanced degrees from U.S. institutions, increase the number of green cards for highly skilled workers and expand temporary-worker programs.
The study notes that only 7 percent of U.S. green cards are allocated based on employment needs, compared to 25 percent in Canada, 42 percent in Australia and nearly 60 percent in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Zavodny adds that this inaction has a price, because other countries compete for talent. "Every major developed country is more focused than the United States on admitting immigrants to meet economic needs," she says.
- download the report (.pdf)
- download the report (.pdf)
Read more: AEI study: Immigrants boost employment for U.S. natives - FierceHomelandSecurity http://www.fiercehomelandsecurity.com/story/aei-study-immigrants-boost-employment-us-natives/2012-01-04#ixzz1iazMCwts