Employment-Based Visa Reform Could Give Economy A Boost

by EB5Investors.com

Employment-Based Visa Reform Could Give Economy A Boost

With the American economy slowly recovering from its worst crisis since the Great Depression, economists and academics from across the country have proposed various plans to help accelerate the momentum of this long-term recovery.

One plan, proposed by a researcher at the Milken Institute, an economic think-tank in Santa Monica, California, includes expanding the number of employment-based (EB) visas available to foreign nationals who could potentially contribute in positively substantive ways to the United States economy, as well as in other areas.

At this time, the United States government restricts the number of employment-based visas awarded each year to 140,000.* Contrast that with Canada, whose population is about one-tenth the size of the U.S., but which in 2010 granted visas to over 180,000 immigrants seeking economic opportunity in their nation.

Moreover, the U.S. currently limits the number of visas awarded to citizens of various nations, including India and China, a policy that deprives the country of highly educated, entrepreneurial and industrious immigrants.* Among those motivated foreign citizens who come to the U.S. on student visas to attend our universities and study science, technology, engineering and math, many are required as to leave as soon as they graduate, effectively forcing them to take their skills and talents back to their country of origin when most would prefer to stay and contribute to their adopted home.

The quotas on employment-based visas also keep the unemployment rate stubbornly high and intensify the housing crisis.* More immigration could lead to greater employment and higher demand in the housing market.* Restricting the number of economic immigrants, however, tends to maintain the economic status quo. *

But there are solutions to this problem.* The best way to address the issue is by expanding the number of employment-based visas granted each year, to at least 300,000.* The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency should set sensible quotas on visas awarded to citizens of various countries based on the population size of the country of origin of an applicant, as well as the nature of the visa request.* A proportional approach to the awarding of employment-based visas as well as a more proactive application process which focuses on immigrants who could potentially contribute the most to the U.S. would be more advisable than the one-size-fits-all methodology USCIS currently employs.*

Student visa-holders should be given automatic residency in the U.S. as soon as they have met the other requirements of the program, and the EB-5 visa program, which awards green cards to wealthy immigrants who invest in commercial enterprises in the United States, should be effectively marketed and modified to enable investments to take place at a lower level, thereby increasing the number of immigrant entrepreneurs admitted to the U.S. each year.* Although 10,000 EB-5 visas are set aside each year, less than half are actually awarded, leaving many otherwise qualified applicants out in the cold.

Although a comprehensive economic recovery will require changes on many levels, employment-based visas are potentially one of the most important, if underestimated, vehicles that could promote growth and job creation now and in the future.

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