Raising immigration could save America billions

New research has revealed how sensibly raising American immigration levels could save America over US$300 billion.

In a new policy brief, the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) has detailed the major benefits of raising US immigration levels. The study, entitled The Power of More Foreign-Born Workers, identifies the potential economic and workforce benefits of increasing the number of new immigrants based on their human capital value, saving the US up to US$314 billion of human investment.

As the report highlights, low working-age population growth severely constrains future US economic growth prospects. Increased immigration, the report states, directly addresses the problem of fewer skilled workers contributing to the US economy. And sound policy could help boost the quality and quantity of available workers while ensuring increased immigration broadens rather than diminishes opportunities for native-born workers.

To achieve greater economic prosperity and address labour shortages, CED recommends:

– Admitting more immigrants between the ages of 18 and 35. Ready-to-work immigrants who enter the US have already benefited from education and child-rearing spending that would cost more than US$300 billion if obtained in the U.S.

– Giving states flexibility to allow immigrants who meet their labour needs. Policies modelled on Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program could help lead to a geographic distribution of new immigrants that better supports the US labour market.

– Improving H-1B visa criteria to admit more workers in occupations with labour shortages. The current US immigration system does not adequately consider future labour shortage risks. Immigrants in computer-related occupations, where there is currently lower risk of labour shortages, dominate H-1B admissions. In contrast, occupations requiring health services or statistical and mathematical analysis face labour shortages that will continue to grow if left unaddressed.

US President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to overhaul America’s current system in favour of a more merit-based approach to immigration.

Earlier this month, the President tweeted: “I, as president, want people coming into our country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on merit. No more lotteries! America first.”

The CED findings, therefore, are likely to be warmly welcomed by the President.

Article published 18th January 2018