Report calls for more skilled immigrants for US

A new report carried out by a Dartmouth College Professor reveals that America’s strict immigration policies are harming the country’s economic growth potential.

The study, conducted by Matthew Slaughter, dean of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and a former member of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W Bush, states that the current cap of 65,000 on H-1B visas is simply not enough to cope with demand. These restrictions, he argues, are limiting productivity growth in the U.S. and costing American firms a fortune.

“America has long needed skilled workers – be they skilled immigrants or native-born Americans – to drive the innovation at the foundation of growth in output, jobs, incomes and opportunity,” Slaughter’s report says. “In recent years many companies, scholars and policymakers have voiced growing concern that America increasingly faces an insufficient supply of talented workers necessary to create and drive the new possibilities of information technology and other frontiers.”

While Professor Slaughter acknowledges that some Americans may fear that raising immigration levels will take jobs away from local workers, he believes that the reality of increasing intake limits would be different.

“People have concerns about jobs and wages for themselves and their children, and that’s not unfounded,” he said. “It’s sobering how poor income growth in particular has been for so many families and workers in the US for so many years at this point. However, the paradox I come back to is that there’s a preponderance of evidence that high-skill immigration is a dynamic force that can help the US create not just jobs, but good jobs.”

Slaughter’s paper ultimately suggests a more open H-1B system – or at least a higher visa cap – would help the US economy generate new opportunities for domestic workers.

Article by David Fuller