March 31, 2009

Foreigners Welcome? The Economics Of High-Skilled Immigration

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Although the United States is in the midst of a financial crisis and an economic recession, immigrants keep coming, but who is coming?  Immigration is often categorized into various distinctions; legal vs. illegal, low-skilled vs. high-skilled.  Within the political debate a significant amount of emphasis is placed on low-skilled illegal workers, but what about the high-skilled immigrants? How do they impact our country?

Each year companies from around the United States are able to temporarily employee foreign workers in specialty occupations. These occupations include and are not limited to positions in architecture, medicine, engineering, mathematics, and education.  For these workers to legally reside in the country, the federal government issues them an H-1B visa which is meant only for high-skilled foreigners.

Now that our economy has weakened and many people are unemployed, the debate around immigration may shift towards these H-1B visas and if foreigners should be able to enter the country for jobs that could otherwise be employing Americans. To address the issue of high-skilled immigrants, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is proud to present a lecture by Dr. Antony Davies, Associate Professor of Economics at Duquesne University.  Dr. Davies presents the latest research on high-skilled immigration and its impact on the American Economy.