Michigan’s global economy

Politicians are apt to hold press conferences for projects that announce even a few hundred jobs. Can you imagine the headline for a government action that produced 15,000 jobs that paid salaries ranging from $60,000 to even $100,000?

Research from the Partnership for a New American Economy—a collection of forward-thinking mayors and CEOs who embrace comprehensive immigration reform—suggests that the federal cap on H-1B visas for skilled immigrant workers cost metro Detroit as many as 15,000 such good-paying jobs for native-born workers from visa denials in 2007 and 2008 alone. (Native-born jobs are the result of increased economic growth resulting from companies’ ability to expand after filling the unmet talent needs for which H-1B visas are used).

On Tuesday, the federal government closed this year’s H-1B application period just five workdays after opening the process. The H-1B visa enables U.S. companies who have identified specific international talent, to whom they are paying at least prevailing wage, to start between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. Experts predict that the 65,000-visa cap will be exceeded by a factor of three-to-one. Last year, the federal government received 172,500 H-1B applications within just five days of the application period opening up. As a result, the immigration authorities hold a lottery to determine which companies and which immigrants can win the right to work together.

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About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…