We Need More Highly Skilled Workers

The Patriot Post
June 15, 2012

Can the federal government adequately predict exactly how many mathematicians, engineers, biochemists, and inventors the United States will need twenty years in the future? I doubt many of us would answer yes. Yet, federal immigration policy does exactly that in allotting work visas for highly skilled employees.

Most of the debate over immigration has centered on low-skilled workers, especially the large population of illegal immigrants who have entered the country over the last two decades. But our legal immigration system is dysfunctional as well. The system primarily focuses on re-uniting foreign-born relatives with family members who are already here, paying little attention to what’s good for our economy and what will benefit Americans by creating more jobs and wealth for all of us.

Congress tried to fix the problem in 1990 when it established special visas for highly skilled workers and researchers, professors and others of outstanding abilities. But the law set the limit of visas available to 140,000 — which included those for family members of those admitted. Worse, it applied the same absolute quotas on populous countries like China and India as it did on tiny countries like Luxembourg.

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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…