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Bloomberg Magazine: lunacy of immigration policy for educated immigrants


BloombergBusinessweek published an editorial on October 25 on the impasse on immigration reforms for highly educated immigrants.

“On one critical component of policy—the treatment of highly skilled workers—a strong consensus exists that a more liberal regime is crucial for U.S. economic prospects.”

It goes on:

House Republicans arranged a floor vote in September on a measure that would have offered more residency visas to immigrants with advanced science, technology, engineering, and math degrees, but set it up to fail by reducing the number of visas overall (which Democrats oppose).

For their part, Democrats think it best to hold the skilled-immigration rules hostage until they can get a more comprehensive agreement (which Republicans tend to resist). We applaud the objective, because we too favor comprehensive reform of the system. But it is time to abandon politically motivated yet economically harmful strategies.

It would be hard to exaggerate the lunacy of U.S. rules on skilled immigration. We know of no other advanced economy that skews its policies so severely against the workers in greatest demand. Most countries see themselves as competing to attract that kind of immigrant, recognizing that human capital is an important driver of economic success.

Many emigrants from India excel in engineering and other technical skills. Yet India’s quota, small in relation to its pool of outstanding applicants, artificially restricts their numbers.

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