E.g., 04/16/2024
E.g., 04/16/2024
A New Way Forward for Employment-Based Immigration: The Bridge Visa

Immigration is expected to be the only driver of U.S. population increases 20 years from now, and already, immigrants and their U.S.-born children are sustaining labor force growth. Yet, U.S. employment-based visa policies—which were last revised in 1990, before most Americans had access to the internet and when manufacturing was the top industry of employment in most states—are significantly out of sync with the country’s economic needs and demographic realities.

This policy brief outlines MPI’s proposal for a new employment-based visa pathway, the bridge visa, that would enable the United States to better leverage immigration to meet its labor market needs. The proposed visa would help meet employers’ demand for workers in a wide range of industries and across skill levels, be flexible enough to accommodate both circular migrants and those wishing to stay in the United States permanently, ensure protections for both U.S. and foreign workers, and grow and shrink in scale over time, as needed to meet economic and other imperatives.

As the authors write, “The overarching goal would be to generate a lasting framework that is flexible enough to adapt over time to changing economic and demographic realities and to the shifting push and pull factors shaping migration to the United States—and, crucially, that does not force the country to wait several decades for Congress to find supermajority support for future reforms.”

Table of Contents 

1  Introduction

2  Current and Future Labor Market Needs

3  Shortcomings of the Employment-Based Immigration System

4  A New, More Responsive Approach: The Bridge Visa

5  How the Bridge Visa Fits within the Overall Employment-Based Immigration System

6  Protecting U.S. Workers
A. Labor Market Testing
B. Other Steps to Ensure the Bridge Visa Does Not Undermine Wages or Working Conditions

7  Recruiting Bridge Visa Workers

8  Streamlining Processing and Providing Greater Certainty

9  Conclusion