The Immigration Problem – Is Not What You Think

May 08, 2022 | Written by: sanford-user

The Sanford city train station's red-brick building. Credit: Ahmod Goins

By Bob Joyce, Senior Director, Business Retention & Expansion

U.S. immigration law has become so inadequate that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will reject up to 82% of the H-1B registrations. In contrast, Canada has no limit and many high-skill temporary visa applicants are approved within two weeks.

These visas are crucial as the only practical way for high-skilled foreign nationals, including international students, to work long-term in the United States. Some wait decades to receive “green cards”.

In a great article for Forbes last month, Stuart Anderson outlined the issue for American business. Mr. Anderson is the Executive Director of the National Foundation for American Policy a non-partisan public policy research organization focusing on trade and a frequent contributor to Forbes.

Here are a few highlights from the Anderson report:

  • “The number of international students from India studying at Canadian colleges and universities increased 182% between 2016 and 2019 while at the same time, the enrollment of Indian students in master’s level science and engineering programs at U.S. universities fell almost 40%,”
  • Next year, USCIS will reject nearly 400,000, or 82%, of the registrations for H-1B petitions.
  • It is widely acknowledged that Russia losing a large number of information technology (IT) professionals—shrinking the availability of tech talent—is a disaster and a “drain brain” for the Russian economy. Why would U.S. policymakers think it is good for the US to reject so many applicants, preventing thousands of highly skilled scientists and engineers from joining our labor force?
  • These are not “cheap foreign laborers”. USCIS data show the median annual salary for H-1B visa holders was $108,000 in FY 2021.
  • There is little evidence that these foreign workers prevent Americans from getting a job. Last month, the U.S. unemployment rate in computer and mathematical occupations was 1.3% while there were more than 1.5 million job vacancy postings in computer occupations…close to 30 times more available jobs than H-1Bs who fill such jobs annually.”
  • The “lump of labor” fallacy is the mistaken belief that there is a fixed number of jobs or amount of labor, which would mean new people coming into the labor market cause someone else to lose a job. That is not how a market economy works. Businesses that can’t get qualified labor in the US move off-shore to find good talent to run their operations, costing Americans good jobs with growing companies.
  • Anderson suggests that Congress is unlikely to address the law of supply and demand for H-1B visas and may even decide to drive more talent and employer resources out of the country by enacting new restrictions.

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