The cure for US job woes: More immigrants
New pro-business report begs: 'Let 'em in!'
Radically increasing the number of immigrants – from the highly skilled professional to the seasonal agricultural field hand – is the solution to the US economy's dismal inability to create jobs.
That's the conclusion of a new study released not by what one rabid right-wing fulminator dubs "red diaper doper babies", but by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the pro-business Partnership for a New American Economy.
"Specific, incremental changes to immigration, such as more permanent and temporary visas for highly educated immigrants, especially those in [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics], and expanded programs for both skilled and less-skilled temporary foreign workers, can lead to job growth even in the short run," concluded the study (PDF), which analyzed data from a variety of sources, including employment data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 2000 to 2007.
"Temporary foreign workers – both skilled and less skilled – boost US employment," the study states. The addition of each 100 H-1B visa for well-educated immigrants in "specialty occupations", for example, results in an additional 183 jobs for US natives, the study claims.
The addition of 100 immigrants in the H-2B class, designed for less-skilled, seasonal, temporary nonagricultural workers, the study asserts, results in an additional 464 jobs for US natives.
The study also found "positive" contributions to US employment for temporary agricultural workers in the H-2A visa program, but said that their findings were not statistically significant due to limited data.
However, "The results give clear evidence that both the H-1B and H-2B programs for temporary workers correspond to greater job opportunities for US-born workers. Overall, when looking at the effect of all immigrants on employment among US natives, there is no evidence that immigrants take jobs from US-born workers."
The data sets used in the study did not provide information on the legal status of the immigrants involved, but the study does note that "Unauthorized foreign born (roughly 30 percent of all foreign born) are disproportionately less skilled." That said, the study concluded that "including all foreign-born workers – regardless of legal status or education level – the data show no evidence that immigration hurts US employment."
The study estimates that about one-half of undocumented immigrants haven't completed high school, and that they add up to about 22 per cent of all US adults without a high school diploma. Authorized immigrants, however, who comprise roughly 70 per cent of all foreign born workers, "are actually more likely than the US-born to have a bachelor's degree or higher."
Immigrants give more than they get
The study also analyzed the impact of foreign-born workers on the US tax rolls, and found that, overall, immigrants contribute more than they receive in benefits – and, as might be guessed, that ratio increases as education increases: the average foreign-born adult pays $7,826 in taxes and receives $4,422 in cash and in-kind benefits from "major government programs", while those immigrants with an advanced degree pay $22,554 in taxes, and receive less than $2,300 in benefits.
But even at the lower-skilled H-2B and H-2A levels, increased immigration would help the US job market, the report's authors contend. "The study also shows that a modest increase in H-2B workers can deliver a generous boost to the US-born employment rate," and "The same holds true for the H-2A program, which offers temporary visas to agricultural workers, whose effect on US workers was found to be positive but, because of limited data, not statistically significant."
The study also tackles one commonly voiced objection to increased immigration, saying: "US employers use guest workers not to replace American workers but to fill critical needs, allowing operations to continue or expand, which in turn creates additional jobs for Americans."
At the higher H-1B level, a "brain drain" has begun, the study says, with foreign-born talent leaving the US after their educations are complete. "Graduates of top US universities look elsewhere when they have no easy way to stay and work in the United States," the study asserts.
In addition, "Entrepreneurial immigrants from China and India, many with years of work experience at American companies, are returning home because of outdated, inflexible US immigration policies coupled with improving economic prospects at home."
From the point of view of members of the American corporate class, a nativist anti-immigrant stance that makes it difficult – as it now does – for US-educated immigrants to stay in the States after their education is harmful to their international competitiveness. "Immigrants who entered the United States on a student visa for college or graduate study are more likely than natives to hold a patent, to have a publication, and, for those who came for graduate study, to start a company with ten or more employees," the study reports.
"From the perspective of US employment, it makes little sense to force those graduates to leave the United States for home or for other countries eager to capitalize on their first-rate US education." ®
How conservative is the AEI, and how pro-business is the Partnership for a New American Economy? The former has George W. Bush's vice president Dick Cheney on its board of trustees, and the latter counts Rupert Murdoch and Steve Ballmer among its co-chairs – nary a bleeding-heart, Occupy Wall Street, red diaper doper baby among them.
I beg to differ with some of the fundamentals here
Excuse me for being blunt, but
The above average rank and file of EU (and other parts of the world with highly educated labour) will _NOT_ take a US job discussed in this report period. The current H1B is strictly for mass low qualified labor of predominantly Asian origin.
If USA was interested in _HIGHLY_ qualified candidates they would have dropped the requirement for the wife to forfeit her career and be a housewife for 5 years. Highly qualified people tend to hang out with other highly qualified (or at the very best highly intelligent) people. If I tell my wife that she is to don a "virtual Burk ha" and sit in the house for the next five years the only answer I am going to get starts with F and finishes with OFF.
Do not get me started on the requirements for L1-L2 which is supposedly for "super qualified". There the immigration official should be given a set of photos from your wedding ceremony and express their explicit approval with the way it has been conducted in order for your wife to be allowed to apply for a dependent status (and later for work).
What next? Photos from the family bedroom ensuring that marriage is being consummate in the appropriate (missionary) position as approved by the same officials as a work permit requirement.
Screw that sidewize. With a chainsaw.
let me clarify..
I am not knocking H1B people, I know quite a few of them, and I have worked with them when I have been down in the States.
A lot of the guys I have worked with have been great, useful workers but H1B is an awful system where your visa is tied to your employer.
So you can't just change jobs when your employer treats you like crud. You just have to swallow the shit sammich, and ask for more else they will replace you with a H1B who will eat said sammich.
H1B is a method of keeping the cost of skilled tech labor down compared to other countries.
I came to Canada on a skilled intake visa, and I can change jobs with no penalty, or issues. I don't have to leave the country, or find another employer who will take me, who is slightly less abusive.
H1B is a joke, and more so in the current environment when you have an effective US unemployment rate of 20% (including those who have just given up)
Strange they are complaining of a lack of skilled techs, when all see on US tv is ads for It schools, and tech colleges.
Correlation does not equal causation.
The data used by the study is from 2000 - 2007, a period during which the US economy was growing and at or near full employment. It seems likely that during times of relative economic prosperity that businesses are looking for workers to expand operations, and the availability of additional employees would enable that expansion regardless of the source of those employees.
It does not necessarily follow that in a period of economic stagnation or downturn that the same effect would be seen from an influx of immigrant workers. Rather, it seems more likely that it would add to the unemployment problem since businesses are not looking to expand operations due to the uncertain economic situation.