Immigration has long been one of America’s greatest competitive advantages. For decades highly skilled immigrants have helped make the United States economy the strongest in the world by filling crucial roles at American businesses and founding successful businesses of their own, in turn raising wages, increasing productivity, and creating jobs for U.S. workers. But our high-skilled immigration system has not been updated in over 25 years, and is now outdated and overburdened, putting our global leadership at risk.
In this report, we examine how failing to update high-skilled immigration policy has led to an over-reliance on the H-1B temporary visa as the sole means of admitting high-skilled talent. We look at how this has severely restricted access to top talent and prevented U.S. businesses from capitalizing on the potential of many skilled individuals living here already, while also diminishing America’s role as a destination for top talent. Finally, we suggest policy principles for Congress to consider in drafting legislation, including increasing opportunities for high-skilled immigrants to contribute and keeping American-trained talent here in the U.S. We hope this report is the beginning of a renewed conversation about how to sustain America’s economic leadership and our role as the home for the world’s best and brightest.