Federal Immigration Reserve Commission
Brian Lamar Alexander and Terrance Woodbury, The Purple Aisle
Background: There are 1.4 million engineering and computing jobs that will need to be filled by 2020 and it is estimated that American universities will only graduate 400,000 people in these subject areas. There is also a huge supply/demand imbalance in the immigration system: 200,000 requests for 80,000 H-1B visas every year. Finally, between 2005 and 2015, we had 25 million working age immigrants but only 7 million new jobs created. In Arizona, SB-1070 which increased law enforcement scrutiny of citizenship status, was estimated to have cost 580,000 jobs and $48.8B in lost revenue. Our current system will not work to keep America competitive.
Solution: The Federal Immigration Reserve Commission (FIRC) would take the partisanship out of the equation, much like the Federal Reserve now. The FIRC would ensure American economic competitiveness by: 1) Adjusting the flow of foreign workers in real time to address market demand for skills. 2) Ensuring American businesses have access to the best talent in the world. And 3) Investing in the development of the American workforce in order to prepare them for emerging industries.
The FIRC would set visa allocation caps depending on market demand, emerging industries, and the domestic skills gap. Companies could surpass visa caps by paying foreign labor premiums. Workforce impact bonds can then fund domestic workforce training to close the skills gap in those industries that require foreign labor premiums. These activities combine the best practices of the Federal Reserve monetary policy, carbon emissions cap & trade, social impact investing, and workforce development.
Advantages: American companies will have access to the best talent in the world, ensuring competitiveness while simultaneously developing the domestic workforce to fully participate in the next economy. And maybe add $1.5 trillion to American GDP.