E.g., 10/29/2020
E.g., 10/29/2020

Employment & the Economy

Employment & the Economy

As workers and consumers, immigrants play a role in the labor markets and economies of the countries in which they settle. The research collected here examines how immigrants fare in the labor market, whether they are affected differently than native-born workers during cycles of boom and bust, the role of immigration policymaking as a lever of competitiveness, immigrant employment by sector and skill, and the fiscal impacts of immigration. MPI's research also assesses the role of temporary workers and the labor recruitment process.

Recent Activity

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Fact Sheets
November 2017
By Jie Zong, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Jeanne Batalova, Julia Gelatt, and Randy Capps
Policy Briefs
August 2017
By Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Jie Zong
Policy Briefs
August 2017
By Philip Martin
How Are Refugees Faring? Integration at U.S. and State Levels
Reports
June 2017
By Michael Fix, Kate Hooper, and Jie Zong
New Brain Gain: Rising Human Capital among Recent Immigrants to the United States
Fact Sheets
June 2017
By Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix

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Rio de Janeiro

In Brazil, where the majority of colonial-era residents were African slaves and their children, millions of immigrants have joined a conversation about race and identity that continues today. Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, as well as significant European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern populations. This country profile explores historical and contemporary migration patterns in Brazil.

Marine naturalization

While much attention has focused on President Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, the administration has moved, via a much wider scope of actions, to reduce legal immigration to the United States. This article explores changes including slowed processing of family- and employment-based visas, dramatic cuts in refugee admissions, and heightened vetting and evidence requirements for would-be immigrants.

Mexican workers in Canada

Together, Canada, Mexico, and the United States are home to nearly one-quarter of the world's migrants. Despite shifts in the profile of those who migrate and changing demographic realities across the region, such as population aging, perceptions and policies remain set in earlier eras. This article explores the intersection of migration and population dynamics in North America and the Northern Triangle of Central America.

Refugees attend a job training fair

After receiving more than 2 million asylum seekers in 2015-16, European countries are turning to the task of integrating the newcomers, including getting refugees into work. This article explores labor market integration of refugees in five Northern European countries—Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden—drawing key lessons for today from the experiences of earlier groups of humanitarian arrivals.

Chinese lanterns

Immigration has driven economic and social development in Australia for more than two centuries. Even as more than one-fourth of the country’s population is foreign born and Australia ranks third among top refugee resettlement countries worldwide, controversy surrounding its hardline treatment of asylum seekers arriving by boat has cast a shadow on its reputation as a welcoming country, as this article explores.

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Video, Audio
February 28, 2017

Marking the release of a report on the barriers foreign-trained high-skilled immigrants face in the United States, this webinar examines programs and initiatives that assist with credential recognition, employment, and relicensure, as well as recent policy developments. Discussants review recommendations for community-based organizations, employers, and policymakers to expand successful efforts aimed at preventing brain waste. 

Video, Audio
January 27, 2017

As the Trump administration assumes office and the DACA program faces an uncertain future, University of California President Janet Napolitano; Donald Graham, cofounder of TheDream.Us; and Ike Brannon, Visiting Fellow at the CATO Institute join MPI's Doris Meissner for a discussion on the possible impacts of rescinding DACA, particularly in the areas of higher education, philanthropy, and the economy.  

Video, Audio
December 7, 2016

A presentation of the first-ever U.S. estimates on the economic costs of brain waste for highly skilled immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy. The researchers discuss their findings in terms of the billions of dollars in forgone earnings and unrealized taxes when college-educated immigrants are relegated to low-skilled work.

Video, Expert Q&A
December 6, 2016

Nearly 2 million college-educated immigrants in the United States are stuck in low-skilled jobs or are unemployed—a phenomenon known as brain waste. In this brief video, MPI researchers discuss their key findings on immigrant skill underutilization and the resulting billions of dollars in unrealized wages and forgone federal, state, and local tax receipts.

Video, Audio
October 20, 2016

A discussion featuring data on immigration trends and the agricultural workforce, and some of the adjustments that farm employers are making, including increased mechanization, improved wages and benefits, and the increased use of the H-2A program. University of California-Davis’s Phil Martin, along with researchers from the the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Labor, present their findings on the foreign agricultural workforce in the United States, which is followed by comments from the President of Farmworker Justice on some of the policy implications.

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Recent Activity

Video, Audio
August 12, 2019

This discussion marked the launch of MPI's Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy Initiative, which aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration should play in America’s future, as well as to build a bipartisan center so needed reforms can be enacted. The initiative's leader, MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, joins in conversation with former Bush administration Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and former Obama White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz about the prospects for action and what's needed.

Policy Briefs
August 2019

The U.S. economy is facing an uncertain future as an aging workforce, stagnating labor force participation, skill mismatches, and automation reshape the labor market. This issue brief explores these forces and the role that immigration could play in supporting future U.S. economic growth. It also examines how immigration affects workers already in the country, both native born and immigrant.

Policy Briefs
August 2019

In the coming decades, the U.S. labor market will undergo major transformation. Automation, an aging workforce, and alternative staffing practices will change how, where, and by whom work is done. This think piece, by a former chief economist for the U.S. Labor Department, explores how immigrant workers fit into this changing landscape, and what immigration and workforce policy changes could help maximize their contributions to the U.S. economy.

Policy Briefs
August 2019

The U.S. immigration system is in desperate need of an overhaul. What has been missing is an alternate vision for a path forward that treats immigration as a strategic resource while also accounting for heightened security and rule-of-law imperatives, which together can further U.S. interests, values, and democratic principles as a society. This concept note outlines a new MPI initiative, Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy, that seeks to fill this gap.

Articles

China has been Africa’s largest trading partner since 2009, and as commerce and investment have increased, so have flows of people in both directions. With an estimated 1 million to 2 million Chinese migrants across Africa, some countries have relaxed their short-term visa requirements in hopes of facilitating cultural and business exchanges. High levels of Chinese investment do not, however, correlate with more liberal visa policies, as this article explores.

Reports
July 2019

As technological developments—from automation to artificial intelligence and machine learning—reshape the world of work, governments face the challenge of updating how they attract, select, and retain economic-stream immigrants. This report, concluding a series on building migration systems for a new age of economic competitiveness, lays out the key considerations for "future-proofing" immigrant selection systems.

Reports
July 2019

Over the last decade, a number of governments have launched start-up visa programs in the hopes of attracting talented immigrant entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. With the track record for these programs a mixed one, this report explains how embedding start-up visas within a broader innovation strategy could lead to greater success.

Articles

Faced with a lack of employment opportunities and recurrent poverty, Albanian youth migrate to Italy alone in the hopes of improving their educational prospects or making money for their families. Yet upon arrival, they face many vulnerabilities. While some protections for unaccompanied minors exist in the Italy, the system is greatly fragmented and challenges, including how to return them to Albania, remain persistent.

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