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MA, US Economy Would Benefit From National Immigration Reform, Reports Indicate

March 19, 2015

Massachusetts is disproportionately affected by federal immigration policy, according to a recent report from the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) – Growing 100K Tech Jobs: Trends, Insights, and Opportunities within the 2020 Challenge. The authors contend that the state’s universities and colleges educate a significant number of highly skilled immigrants from around the world in tech fields only to see them leave after graduation. Many of these immigrants help create economic value in regions across the country and world by launching startups and stimulating job growth.

A primary cause of these international students leaving the state is national immigration policies that allow international companies to have advantage in competing for talent, according to the authors. MassTLC contends that the state and other groups within Massachusetts should continue to advocate for Congress to pass immigration reform. These findings were among several about how to reach the MassTLC goal of creating 100,000 new tech jobs from 2010 to 2020. Read the report…

A recent report from the Manhattan Institute uses a review of academic literature and an examination of government data to confirm the need for national immigration reform due to the potential economic growth and job creation of highly skilled immigrants. In Does Immigration Increase Economic Growth?, Diana Furchtgott-Roth found immigrants spur economic growth in two ways:

  •  It expands America’s workforce and encourages more business startups; and,
  • Immigration increases economic efficiency by supplying more labor to low- and high-skill markets because immigrants’ educational backgrounds typically complement, rather than displace, the skills of the native-born labor market.

Similar to the findings of the MassTLC study, the author contends that when highly skilled immigrants are forced to leave the country, the U.S. economy underperforms. Researchers estimate that national immigration reform could dramatically increase the number of new companies that that will, eventually, produce a billion dollars or more in annual revenue from current projections of 15 to almost 60 over the coming years, according to the report. This growth would raise GDP growth by more than a full percentage point. In addition to the impact of GDP, the loss of talented immigrants, upon completion of advanced degree, causes private and taxpayer investment in research to lose significant value and reduce the return on investment.

The report highlights that the share of immigrants in the U.S. workforce has declined to below its 1991 levels because H-1B visas fail to meet demand and the lengthy, costly process of permanent residency. The author contends that the economic benefits of immigration reform would provide a cure to the faster economic growth that the U.S. urgently needs. Read the report…

Massachusettseconomic impact report, immigration, workforce