WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --As immigration reform remains in gridlock, a new report from a nonpartisan think tank whose membership is comprised of top-level business executives calls on policymakers to enact various changes to bolster America's workforce and economic might. Published by the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED), recommendations from the public policy think tank include streamlining the visa process to strengthen the country's attractiveness to the most in-demand foreign workers, and increasing economically motivated offers of permanent residence.
Such proposals and others detailed in the report would spur innovation and expand the economy, while helping to counter demographic and fiscal pressures posed by anemic population growth.
"By one estimate, the direct contribution of foreign-born labor to US economic output in 2016 clocked in at around $2 trillion," said Paul Decker, President and CEO of Mathematica and Co-Chair of CED's Workforce Subcommittee. "By putting in place smarter immigration policies, in-demand foreign workers can make an even greater contribution, generating more prosperity for both themselves and the US economy more broadly."
The study recommends that business leaders and policymakers work together to:
Reform the H-1B visa application and approval process to make the US more attractive to the most in-demand international workers. This includes increasing the frequency of visa allotments, speeding up the approval process, and prioritizing the most in-demand applicants.
Make the H-1B visa's pathway to permanent residence more predictable and attractive for in-demand workers by enabling visa holders to nominate themselves for permanent resident status and offering temporary work authorization for spouses of visa holders on track for permanent residence.
Increase annual offers of permanent residence to immigrants selected for economic reasons, while protecting existing family reunification visa levels and the diversity lottery, and removing country-of-origin based limitations.
Pilot a points-based immigrant selection process to "fast track" a number of highly qualified foreign workers toward permanent residence.
Set aside an annual allocation of "place-based" employment visas to ensure that more communities can compete for and benefit from the international talent needed in their region.
Establish a bipartisan workforce and immigration policy advisory board to inform US immigration policy discussions, legislation, and oversight.
"The native-born population of the US is projected to increase by an average of just 0.4 percent per year over the next four decades," said Howard Fluhr, Chairman Emeritus of Segal and Co-Chair of CED's Workforce Subcommittee. "Amid this daunting slowdown, immigration reform represents a feasible path for boosting our workforce – and ultimately, the nation's prosperity."
The full report, Boosting Immigration: Harnessing Global Talent to Increase US Competitiveness, Innovation, and Prosperity, is available here.
About CED The Committee for Economic Development is the Public Policy Center of The Conference Board that delivers well-researched analysis, and non-partisan, reasoned solutions in the nation's interest. www.ced.org
About The Conference Board The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what's ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org
SOURCE Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED)