- Nearly 80% of U.S. adults support highly-skilled immigrants coming to the country to work — and even those that largely want the country to accept fewer immigrants support encouraging highly skilled people to immigrate to the U.S., a new Pew Research Center poll found. The people who support highly trained immigrants across the 12 economically advanced countries in the study tend to be younger, better educated adults with higher incomes than those who oppose well-trained immigrants, Pew noted.
- Although the U.S. is fifth among the top countries supporting high-skilled immigrants, Pew research showed that it's first in having the highest number of college-educated immigrant workers — nearly 15 million — compared to the other top four nations: Canada (4.4 million), U.K. (3.4 million), Australia (3.4 million) and Germany (2 million). The research also found, however, that immigrants in the U.S. have less education overall than the native population, unlike in most other countries.
- Factors such as immigrants' proximity to a country and educational levels drive government policies across nations, said Pew researchers. Canada, for example, has a point system favoring highly educated immigrants that also considers age and language. Many European countries like France have policies that are more reliant on attracting migrant laborers. By contrast, the U.S. has no educational requirements for immigrants to enter its borders legally, with most having family ties in the country, according to the research.
The Trump administration has proposed a number of changes to the H-1B program — the U.S.'s skilled immigrant visa. While the administration has expressed interest in turning to a merit-based system, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is considering new rules that would, among other things, require that employers pre-register for the process.
Such policies are just the latest development in a series of frustrating moves with the H-1B program for employers — and it could be bad for company bottom-lines. Results from a University of California study showed that companies that hire high-skilled H-1B visa holders are more innovative. These firms reportedly have high reallocation rates, which when translated means "the entry of new products and the exit of outdated products," with high revenue growth.
Based on the Pew research results, the U.S. is behind other economically advanced nations in setting policies that make it easier for American employers to hire educated, highly skilled foreign nationals. Canada, for example, expedited its visa program at the same time that the U.S. paused its own program back in 2017 — painting a solid picture of the different immigration policies currently at play. But the demand for high-skilled workers isn't likely to go away any time soon, since employers remain struggling with the talent shortage in a tight labor market.