Most of the talk on the national stage has been about the economy. The latest job-related numbers include 7.6% unemployment and 11.6 million unemployed. One defensive reaction to this is to limit immigration, that they are taking “our jobs”. Beyond the face of such thinking being inhospitable, it overlooks how the U.S. benefits from immigration over the years. These include:
- 1 in 4 foreign IT firms in the U.S. were founded by immigrants.
- Nearly half of the immigrant entrepreneurs surveyed came to the U.S. as students andstarted their own businesses within 12 years of entering the country. Note in 2006 there were 6 million businesses with 500 or less employees. For the same year there were 18,000 businesses that employed over 500 employees.
- Other successful immigrants can be found here. Perhaps those of us who grew up in the U.S. could learn from what immigrants did to be successful.
Even with the current “mood” in Congress being one of restricting immigration, we could do better. Here are some simple, but effective recommendations by Brian Sommer that could go a long way to improve immigration policy:
- Enforce existing law: Sure it’s obvious, but there is nothing like inconsistency to cloud the real issues. Silly things like buy-a-house-then-get-citizenship, breaks down the trust among everyone. As of January 2009, there are 11.6 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.
- Have H1-Bs mean something again: Originally defined as highly specialized, scarce skills. Companies have stretched this to now include the just-received-my-diploma undergrad with coding skills. Set clear priorities associated with the visa. How many should be granted and why?
- Address labor arbitrage: U.S. businesses who want foreign labor for pennies can be “cured” of this motive. Set a schedule, akin to the federal minimum wage, but have it based on market rates (tie to Radford Survey). Immigration costs should be excluded from such a schedule.
Improving the economy means improving businesses and improving businesses means improving talent. Extending benefits and offering public works is but a stop gap solution. Immigration is only part of the talent equation, but let’s makes it better. This sort of diversity has made us better and stronger both historically and now. Let’s just make it more understandable.
William is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He’s written over 250 HR articles, spoken at over 350 HR & recruiting conferences and he’s conducted over 1300 HR podcasts & webinars. William prides himself on being easy to find on The Internets, Google him, and connect with him via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
William serves on the Board of Advisors for Hire Wells, Worksense, Wedge, Optimal, Rolebot, Gustav, Humantic, TechScreen, altru, Brazen, Engagedly, Echovate, VibeCatch, Continu, Happie, Work4, and SmartRecruiters. He’s an active mentor with ATK LABS (Israel) and Talent Tech Labs (New York City). He was previously an advisor to Hyphen (sold to Betterworks Q1 2020), Causecast (sold to America’s Charities Q3 2019), RolePoint (sold to Jobvite Q4 2018), PeopleMatter (sold to Snag Q2 2016), Good.co (sold to StepStone Q1 2016) Smarterer (sold to Pluralsight Q4 2014) and a board member of Talentegy (sold to Jobvite Q3 2020), Chequed (merged to create OutMatch Q3 2015).
William is a graduate of the University of Alabama of Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University. William holds six distinct certifications: “Trustee Management & Development” from United Way Blueprint for Board Service, “Leadership Development” from Leadership Fort Worth, “Certificate in Nonprofit Management” from The Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, “Trustee Management & Development” from Business Volunteers Unlimited, “SHRM – SCP Certification (Senior Certified Professional)” from SHRM and, “Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)” from the HR Certification Institute.