Given the competitive nature of business and the globalization of markets in finance, technology, services and manufacturing, access to high-skilled talent has never been more vital. Unfortunately, the United States of America, dubbed “A Nation of Immigrants” by President John F. Kennedy, has developed immigration policies that make it difficult both for businesses — and the talented individuals they seek to employ — to thrive.
America has a litany of immigration problems that affect economic competition:
- The supply of H-1B visas for high-skilled foreign nationals has been exhausted every year for more than a decade due to low annual quotas, which prevent employers from hiring individuals that can help them grow and innovate inside the United States.
- Long waits for employment-based green cards — six to 10 years or longer for many high-skilled immigrants — discourage outstanding individuals, including international students who have graduated from U.S. universities, from building successful careers in America.
- High denial rates for intracompany transferees, something not witnessed by employers in other advanced economies, make completing projects and building product and service teams more difficult in the United States.
- The lack of legal visas for year-round, lower-skilled workers prevents employers from accessing a critical workforce.
- The absence of a true entrepreneur visa encourages foreigners with great ideas and access to venture capital to pursue startup opportunities in other nations.
Policymakers in Washington, D.C., should remove the many obstacles that prevent U.S. companies from attracting talented individuals from around the world.