Via the Cato Institute:

The idea of regional or state-based visas is not a new one. Indeed, Canada and Australia have each implemented successful variations that provide some valuable lessons and hint at the major economic benefits possible for us in the United States. Adoption of a state-based visa program in America would permit our 50-state governments to craft rules for work visa programs that are more adaptable to local economic conditions than the present one-size-fits-all system run from Washington, D.C. While state governors and state and federal lawmakers are warming to the idea, all that stands in the way here is congressional approval.

The following press release was issued by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, unveiled a new state-based visa pilot program Wednesday that would allow states to tailor guest worker programs to meet their individual workforce needs. He was joined by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) who plans to introduce a version of the bill in the House of Representatives.


“We have a shortage of workers in all different areas of the economy. We need to recognize that a one-size-fits-all federal model for visas or guest workers doesn’t work. Let the states manage the visas, allocate them to the industries that need the workers, set prevailing wage rates. I think states would do a better job of protecting their state workers—American workers—as well as making sure their industries have the people they need to be able to grow,” Sen. Johnson said in remarks about his bill Tuesday.

Sen. Johnson’s bill, introduced Wednesday, has a broad coalition of support and has been endorsed by:
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Bipartisan Policy Center
  • FWD.us
  • National Foundation for American Policy
  • Americans for Tax Reform
  • Marron Institute of Urban Management
  • American Dairy Coalition
  • WIB Agri-Business Coalition
  • Outdoor Amusement Business Association
  • National Roofing Contractors Association
  • ImmigrationWorks USA
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • Compete America
  • Cooperative Network
  • National Association of Home Builders
  • South Dakota Dairy Producers
  • Professional Dairy Managers of PA
  • Oregon Dairy Farmers Association


The full text of the State Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act of 2017 can be found here.

Sen. Johnson’s remarks on the bill at a Cato Institute event Wednesday can be found here.

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