Today's @bopinion post is a review of the excellent new book "The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society", by

This is an excellent, short, highly readable, very important book. Every business executive and politician should have a copy.
Why are skilled immigrants so good, and so important?

Because they're the backbone of high-value industries where the U.S. has a dominant position.
If we don't bring skilled immigrants to the United States, high-value industries will migrate to other countries, and America will lose industrial dominance and be a poorer country.
Contrary to popular belief, skilled immigrants - including H-1b workers - RAISE wages for native-born skilled workers.


Because downward wage pressure from competition is more than canceled out by the upward wage pressure from CLUSTERING.
What about brain drain? Are we hurting other countries by taking their smart people?

There's good reason to think we're not. Especially huge countries like China and India.
In fact, there's another reason skilled immigration is so important and good:

Skilled immigrants pay a lot of TAX MONEY, to support the native-born population.
The tax revenue from skilled immigrants is basically a free lunch for native-born Americans - including your parents and grandparents, your hometown, etc.
But the United States' skilled immigration system is NOT OPTIMAL.

It needs to be improved.

First of all, we need to prioritize high-wage workers for H-1b visas, instead of lower-wage workers.
Second, we need to let H-1b workers apply for green cards THEMSELVES, instead of through their employers!

This will cut the "tether" and make H-1b workers less like indentured servants.
Those are @william_r_kerr's suggestions. Here are some more good ideas:

1. Region-based sponsorship of skilled immigrants (think: the Rust Belt)

2. Lifts on country caps (to prevent brain drain)

3. A Canada-style points-based immigration system!!!
Skilled immigration is one of the last big free lunches that America has.

Let's not throw that away.


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