How Can We Put the Immigration System to Work for a 21st Century Economy?

Robert Roche wrote an op-ed discussing the fundamental issues of the United States’ immigration system. Roche noted that the current processes discourage entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers from pursuing employment in the United States at a time when our economy needs them most. The employment processes immigrants endure are contributing to our country’s economic struggles.

Roche stated, “I’ve seen this policy debate unfold from a unique perspective and understand what foreign talent can mean to a country. Thirty years ago I moved to Japan and then later to China where I started several companies that helped to create jobs and expand economic opportunities. The U.S. could benefit from being more open to foreign entrepreneurs who are eager to create similar opportunities here.”

Roche mentions that the United States relies on temporary visas in lieu of employment-based green cards. In fact, the temporary work visa to green card ratio in the United States was 3-1 in 2016. The temporary visa, also knowns as the H-1B, isn’t designed to maximize the economic impact of each visa awarded, or contribute to the advancement of America’s long-term competitiveness.

H-1B workers aren’t innovating or launching new ventures and are in fact prevented from doing so due to the fact that companies, not the immigrants themselves, “own” the visas.  Therefore, H-1B workers can’t leave their employers to pursue other endeavors without losing their right to stay in the country.

Click here to read Robert Roche’s full piece.

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