WASHINGTON (August 18, 2011) - There have been numerous recent proposals to increase the admission of skilled workers from abroad, such as the IDEA Act (HR 2161), introduced by Rep. Zoe Logren, ranking Democrat on the House immigration subcommittee. The premise of such proposals is that our country faces a shortage of skilled workers and that our current immigration system doesn't admit enough of them.
To assess these claims, the Center for Immigration Studies has published a paper examining some of the issues surrounding the question of skilled immigration. The paper, entitled 'Is There a Shortage of Skilled Foreign Workers?' is written by Center Fellow David North. The findings include:
- There are about 10 million Americans with STEM degrees (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) not working in those fields.
- Each year, some 200,000 additional skilled foreign workers are admitted through a variety of existing visa programs.
- At least one million skilled nonimmigrant workers are in the United States at any one time.
- The large majority of foreign PhD recipients already remain in the United States under current law.
- In examining the details of proposals to increase skilled immigration it's clear that they would lead mainly to the admission of large numbers of unremarkable workers since those who truly are the 'best and brightest' already have ways of entering or staying in the U.S.