Immigration can be a powerful tool for supporting a country’s economic growth and prosperity, but its success in accomplishing that objective depends on well-designed and carefully implemented immigration policies that strategically facilitate immigration’s economic contribution. Major immigrant-receiving countries increasingly are examining how to select immigrants across a range of skill levels, retain those with the greatest potential to succeed, engage employers constructively in the immigration process, and facilitate immigrant integration, as the research here explores.
Since 1970, the immigrant populations from Mexico and Central America living in the United States have increased significantly: rising by a factor of 20 even as the total U.S. immigrant population increased four-fold over the period. This demographic report examines the age, educational, and workforce characteristics of these immigrants.
While aspects of the U.S. immigration system facilitate newcomers’ contributions to economic growth and competitiveness, others undermine them. Reforms are needed to enhance the job-creating power of U.S. employers and strengthen the system’s ability to select effectively from the large pool of foreign workers.
Two competing models for selecting economic-stream immigrants are now prevalent in advanced industrialized economies: points-based and employer-led selection. Increasingly, however, hybrid selection systems are being created, implementing best practices from each selection process.
Drawing on experiences from Asia, Europe, North America, and the Pacific region, this report presents eight strategies that represent best practices developed by immigrant-receiving countries to increase the economic contributions of immigration.
In a report by MPI's Labor Markets Initiative, noted economist and Georgetown University Public Policy Institute Professor Harry J. Holzer examines the economic reasoning and research on these questions and looks at the policy options that shape the impact of less-skilled immigration on the economy. The discussion is on what policy reform would best serve native-born American workers, consumers, and employers, as well as the overall U.S. economy.
Notwithstanding the broad consensus on the benefits of highly skilled immigration, the economic role of less-skilled immigrants is one of the more controversial questions in the immigration debate. While less-skilled immigrants bring economic benefits for U.S. consumers, employers, and skilled workers, they impose some costs on U.S. workers competing for similar jobs.
Immigrants have been disproportionately hit by the global economic crisis that began in 2008 and now confront a number of challenges. The report, which has a particular focus on Germany, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and United States finds that the unemployment gap between immigrant and native workers has widened in many places.
This important MPI report challenges the conventional wisdom about the immigrant workforce, using a sophisticated new method of analysis that permits deeper examination of how workers – immigrant and native-born – fare by economic sector, the skill level of their jobs, and educational attainment.