The influential “Gang of 8” has had their say in the Senate, and now Obama’s own immigration reform plan has been “leaked” throughout Washington. Change is coming, and economic experts and business professionals alike are envisioning the future based on these reforms – the most momentous of which would provide a path to citizenship for about 11 million illegal immigrants.
Immigration reform might spur job growth, especially higher-skilled options.
The rest of the workforce could see a swell in job opportunities following the President’s proposed increase of visas to foreign-born graduates of American universities who studied science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Studies have shown that for every one of these foreign graduates with advanced degrees, the economy generates 2.62 jobs for American workers. Plus, job growth in STEM fields was triple that of non-STEM occupations from 2000 to 2010. High-profile companies like Microsoft and Facebook say they need high-skilled immigrants to fill certain jobs. Once those roles are filled, the companies contend that they can create new jobs for other high skilled workers.
Increased immigration may raise wages among some Americans, and lower wages for others
(but either way, it’ll be relatively small).
U.S.-born workers could see an average wage increase of between .1 and .6 percent as a result of new (legal) arrivals to the country, according to a study done by the nonpartisan Brookings Institution. However, when looking only at the effect among low-skilled native-born workers – those competing most directly with immigrants for jobs – their wages could fall by as much as 4.7%.
Once naturalized, some say immigrants will pursue better-paying jobs.
After they acquire citizenship, workers won’t need to operate “in the shadows.” Some say they will no longer avoid jobs that require documentation, which will in turn widen their potential job spectrum. It goes without saying, then, that they will be more likely to pursue better-paying jobs.
Businesses could score big with more immigration.
When labor becomes plentiful, labor costs will start inching down. As a result of this, some economic experts say we should see the price of our goods and services becoming more and more affordable, which in turn drives the engine of business. Americans have been benefiting from these economic reverberations for a long time.
Increased immigration could reduce the range of offshored tasks in any given industry.
Because immigrants often enter the workforce through “manual-intensive” jobs, some say they are generally more likely to compete with offshore workers than with native-born Americans. Following this influx of labor, industries may choose to keep more tasks here in the States. Some are predicting a win-win scenario: reduced outsourcing without any changes to the level of employment or types of tasks natives take on.