Multiple states advance child labor law changes that remove protections for children

As states and local economies tackle an ongoing workforce shortage and a tight labor market, some state legislatures are looking to relax or reform their child labor laws. These proposed changes come as U.S. child labor has been a subject of controversy and debate in recent months amid the reports of federal investigations involving under-aged workers in automobile factories and in meat/food processing plants, or investigative exposés involving cereal factories, twelve-year-old roofers, and underage slaughterhouse workers.

Recent Research: High-skilled immigrant entrepreneurs create a positive effect on U.S. entrepreneurial ecosystem

Two recent working papers — The Impact of High-Skilled Immigration on Regional Entrepreneurship from Columbia University and Getting Schooled: The Role of Universities in Attracting Immigrant Entrepreneurs from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank — explore the impact of high-skilled immigrants on entrepreneurship and how universities attract immigrant entrepreneurs. Both papers find that high-skilled immigrants have a positive net effect on regional entrepreneurship and are critical to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Massive House innovation bill would fund semiconductor incentives, create tech hubs, NSF directorate

Earlier this week, House Democrats released its version of a wide-ranging innovation policy bill. This legislation includes authorization for Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs — a program SSTI’s Dan Berglund testified about before the House science committee last June. The bill also would establish a new directorate within the National Science Foundation (NSF), reauthorize the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Energy (Energy) Office of Science, and fund incentives for U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturing.

Modifications to H-1B visa registration finalized

Beginning in early March, potential wage levels will play a leading role in the selection process that determines H-1B visa recipients, worrying some that it may result in a decrease in the number of international students wanting to pursue their education in the U.S. The rule modifications, originally introduced in October 2020 and covered by SSTI here, state that the new procedure will focus on “selecting registrations based on the highest Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) prevailing wage level that the proffered wage equals or exceeds for the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and area(s) of intended employment,” deviating from the current lottery-style system for H-1B selection.

First- and second-generation immigrants making up larger portion of higher education enrollment

In 2018, 5.8 million students at colleges and universities within the United States were either the children of first-generation immigrants or were immigrants themselves, which accounted for 28 percent of the total student population and was a noticeable increase from the 2.9 million enrolled in 2000. This data serves as the foundation of a new report from the Migration Policy Institute, Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education: A Data Profile, that explores the growing role first- and second-generation immigrants play within the nation’s higher education landscape.

Administration files rules to raise H-1B wage requirements, limit eligibility

Earlier this week, the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Labor (DOL) filed interim final rules related to the H-1B visa application process.

Acceptance rate of H1-B visas continues decline

The share of H-1B applications approved by United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) in FY 2018 was well below the levels in FY 2017 and FY 2016, and new data from the first quarter of FY 2019 shows a continuing downward trend. In FY 2018, there were nearly as many H-1B visa denials (61,346) as there were in the previous two fiscal years combined (29,856 in FY 2017 and 23,032 in FY 2016), while there were more denials of H-1B applications in the first quarter of FY 2019 (24,851) than in any previous quarter since FY 2015. Furthermore, the number of cases challenged by the government has tripled since the start of the Trump administration.  

Student loan debt, urban wage premiums drive rural brain drain

When it comes to paying off student loan debt, rural individuals who move to metro areas fare better than those who stay, according to new research from PJ Tabit and Josh Winters of the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs. Using panel data from Equifax and the New York Fed, the authors explore the relationship between the student loan balances of rural millennials and where they choose to live when they begin repayment. Their analysis offers a deeper understanding of the rural brain drain phenomenon and approaches to addressing the challenge.

Impacts of H-1B visa reductions on economic growth

Over the last two years, foreign-born workers have faced  increased difficulty in obtaining work visas, a condition that could lead to negative impacts on the future economic prosperity of the United States. Under the Trump administration, there also has been a reduction in the cap for H-1B visas from 85,000 in 2016 to 65,000 this year. In addition to a reduction in the number of H-1B visas offered, human resource professionals report that the U.S. visa application process has become more difficult due to increased complexity, longer preparation times, and increased requests for additional information, according to a survey by Envoy

The cap reductions have driven public discourse regarding the policy’s economic impact. Proponents of the reductions argue that H-1B visas reduce opportunities for domestic-born workers. Critics of these policies contend that generally domestic workers actually benefit from federal policies that attract skilled foreign-born workers. Over the past several months, three research articles looked to measure the impact that these immigration policies can have and have had on domestic workers and economic growth.

University-led strategies to retain international students beyond graduation

Due to their positive impact on entrepreneurship (31 percent of VC-backed founders are immigrants) and innovation (76 percent of patents from top 10 U.S. patent-producing universities had at least one foreign-born author) in the United States, many institutions of higher education are working to understand the opportunities, challenges, and gaps that exist in supporting international students from their first year of study through graduation, the job search process, and entry into the labor force. Institutions of higher education are seen as uniquely positioned to enhance international students’ employability as they provide access to work experience as well as cultural acclimation to increase the likelihood those individuals will remain in their host country after graduation.


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