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Employment & the Economy

Employment & the Economy

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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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Policy Briefs
March 2018
By  Sarah Pierce and Julia Gelatt
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Articles
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Reports
November 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Articles
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Fact Sheets
May 2014
By  Margie McHugh, Jeanne Batalova and Madeleine Morawski
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Reports
May 2014
By  Patrick Simon and Elsa Steichen
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Reports
April 2014
By  Pieter Bevelander and Nahikari Irastorza
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Reports
March 2014
By  Elizabeth Collett and Milica Petrovic
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Reports
March 2014
By  Núria Rodríguez-Planas and Natalia Nollenberger
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Reports
March 2014
By  Sarah Hooker, Michael Fix and Margie McHugh

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Mexico has lost its long-held status as the top source country of new immigrants to the United States, dropping to third place behind China and India. This historic shift is remarkable for the rapid decline in Mexican inflows combined with a steady rise in Asian immigration, largely through high-skilled visa programs. This Policy Beat explores the reasons behind these trends and their potential impact on U.S. demographics.
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Indian immigrants represent the second-largest origin group in the United States, accounting for 4.7 percent of the total foreign-born population. Generally high-skilled and highly educated, more than half of Indian immigrants have arrived since 2000 and largely attain green cards through employment-based pathways. Indians account for 70 percent of H-1B petitions and are the second-largest group of international students in the United States.

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The H-2B visa allows U.S. employers to bring in foreign workers to temporarily fill low-skill nonagricultural jobs across a wide range of states and industries. A series of recent legal challenges has exposed the presence of fraud and abuse, while stripping the program of its regulations and raising uncertainty about its future. This Policy Beat examines the implications in the debate surrounding temporary worker programs.
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The United Kingdom has faced changing immigration patterns over the last two decades driven largely by EU migration, and political upheaval caused by the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party and the Scottish National Party. Upcoming general elections in May 2015 will have a significant impact not only on immigration policies but the United Kingdom's place in the European Union.
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Faced with rising numbers of foreign entries (long- and short-term), China in 2012 adopted new legislation to manage its migration flows—the first reform to the country's immigration law since 1985. With an underlying tension in the legal framework between restricting immigrants deemed unwanted and welcoming those viewed as desirable, this feature examines the exit-entry law's key points.

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Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
March 2018

Though much attention focuses on the 85,000 temporary high-skilled visas issued each April through a computer-generated lottery, in reality far more H-1B visas are awarded outside the cap. This brief takes stock of changing trends in the program, finding that the largest H-1B dependent employers pay less and hire fewer foreign workers with advanced degrees than other top users that rely less on the temporary visa.

Articles

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.

Video, Audio
March 19, 2018

With immigration increasingly visible in the news and the political space in the United States and internationally, getting access to accurate, high-quality data is essential to understand immigration’s demographic effects and impacts on the economy, education and labor systems, and communities. This event marks the release of the Immigration Data Matters guide.

Reports
November 2020

This useful online guide links users directly to the most credible, high-quality data on immigrants and immigration in the United States and internationally. The easy-to-use guide includes more than 250 data resources compiled by governmental and nongovernmental sources, covering topics ranging from population stock and flow numbers to statistics on enforcement, public opinion, religious affiliation, and much more.

Audio
March 15, 2018

This discussion, featuring California's Labor Commissioner and the head of the Tennessee Bureau of Workers' Compensation, launched a report that examines state innovations in labor standards enforcement in low-wage, immigrant-dense industries. With wage underpayment, payroll fraud, and other violations widespread in industries such as construction and car-washing, the discussion focused on how targeted enforcement can deter practices that hurt native-born and immigrant workers alike, cost state tax revenue, and disadvantage law-abiding employers. 

Reports
March 2018

In low-wage industries, from construction to food service, labor-standards violations have become widespread—with major consequences for law-abiding employers, state tax revenue, and native-born and immigrant workers. As the federal government steps back from workplace regulation, this report examines the innovative approaches conservative and liberal states alike are using to enforce labor standards more strategically.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

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