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The Next America - Economy 2012 / THE NEXT AMERICA

Immigrants Key to Economic Growth: Report

In five years, the U.S. faces a shortfall of 230,000 advanced-degree workers in science, technology, engineer, and math since American students are not pursuing those fields in large enough numbers to fill the gap. Here Cyril Ramathal works in a Stanford stem cell lab. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

May 22, 2012

The war for talent is global war, and U.S. immigration policies put the American economy at risk, according to a report released on Tuesday.

To win the race for talented workers and to spark economic growth, the U.S. should revamp its immigration policy, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy and Partnership for New York City, a group of mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that they say will help create jobs who published the report.

Among the recommendations:

  • Provide visas to the STEM graduates educated in American universities.
  • Award more green cards based on economic needs.
  • Create a visa program to allow foreign entrepreneurs to build their firms in the US.
  • Let American companies hire the highly educated workers they need.
  • Give seasonal and labor-intensive industries access to foreign workers when they cannot find Americans to fill jobs.
  • Allow local governments to recruit more immigrants to meet regional needs.

Under the current policy, immigrant entrepreneurs are seeking friendlier shores, and other countries are more than happy to welcome them, putting America at a competitive disadvantage.

The U.S. needs immigrants to infuse the workforce with young workers, to bolster the ranks of entrepreneurs, and to fill jobs in industries currently experiencing a dearth of workers.

The partnership anticipates a grim future if these changes aren’t made, particularly in STEM fields.

In five years, the U.S. faces a shortfall of 230,000 advanced-degree workers in science, technology, engineer, and math. American students are not pursuing those fields in large enough numbers to fill the gap. 

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