The Economic Windfall of Immigration Reform

Giovanni Peri in the WSJ on immigration. Here are some reform principles he suggests:

  1. The first is simplification. The current visa system is the accumulation of many disconnected provisions. Some rules, set in the past—such as the 7% limit on permanent permits to any nationality—are arbitrary and produce delays, bottlenecks and inefficiencies. There are many different kinds of temporary visas, each with specific provisions, numeric limits, requirements and fees. The disconnect between temporary and permanent visas implies that people who have worked for years and are well integrated in the U.S. have no guarantee of obtaining permanent residence. A more rational approach would have the government set overall targets and simple rules for temporary and permanent working permits, deciding the balance between permits in “skilled” and “unskilled” jobs.
  2. The second important principle is that the number of temporary work visas should respond to the demand for labor.
  3. The third principle governing immigration reform is that scientists, engineers and innovators are the main drivers of productivity and of economic growth.

About ozidar

I'm an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Faculty Research Fellow at National Bureau of Economic Research. You can follow me on twitter @omzidar.
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