• High-tech industry-backed immigration reform advocacy group mulls strategy

    FWD.us, an immigration advocacy group launched by Facebookfounder Mark Zuckerberg, has spent millions of dollars on advertising and events to persuade members of Congress to revamp the country’s immigration policy, but despite having the capital, connections, and star power, the tech industry-based group is now forced to reorganize its strategies in the midst of a polarizing immigration debate.

  • U.S. should re-evaluate definition of skilled workers in immigration policy: experts

    A new study suggests the United States should re-evaluate its definition of skilled workers to include informal skills of migrant workers. The study identifies lifelong human capital — knowledge and technical and social skills — acquired and transferred throughout these migrants’ careers. The researchers discovered that skills among these migrants not only include basic education and English, but also technical and social skills and competencies acquired informally on and off the job throughout their lives — skills that are used in construction, domestic, retail and hospitality work.

  • Skilled immigrants to be granted “express entry” to Canada to meet labor market needs

    Canada’s immigration minister Chris Alexander has announced a new immigration system, set to launch in 2015, allowing qualified skilled immigrants to enter the country as permanent residents as a way to fill open jobs where there are no available Canadian workers. The immigration ministry has promised to process applications within six months or less.

  • Economic relationships, not terrorism fears, drive visa decisions: study

    Despite heightened focus on preventing global terrorism since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, researchers have found that the economic relationship between two countries is the most significant factor in determining the acceptance or rejection rate of visas. “Surprisingly what I find is the global reputation a state garners as a prominent origin of terrorism has a very minute impact when you take into account trade interdependence,” the study’s author says.

  • DHS relaxes employment rules for H-1B visa spouses

    Last month DHS proposed two new rule changes which would allow H-4 dependent spouses of highly skilled immigrant workers who hold an H-1B, E, or L visas, to work legally in the United States. Current regulations prohibit work authorization for spouses of said visa holders. Some immigration advocates say the proposal is too narrow since getting employers to sponsor an H-1B visa applicant is already challenging.

  • U.S. govt. the largest employer of undocumented immigrants

    At least 60,000 undocumented immigrants have worked at federal detention centers while waiting for an immigration court to hear their case. While detained, many immigrants work as cooks and janitors at federal and privately-run detention centers, often making less than $1 a day. The cheap labor saves the federal government and private companies at least $40 million a year by making it unnecessary to pay outside contractors the $7.25 federal minimum wage. Since about half of all immigrants in immigration court typically win their case, this means that that tens of thousands of legal immigrants are working for less than a dollar a day in immigration detention facilities.

  • Anti-immigrants backlash in Europe intensifies

    Anti-immigration groups and parties are enjoying a surge in many European countries, including Britain, France, and Austria, as many European economies face high unemployment and declining wages. The open-border policies of the European Union (EU), which allow citizens of EU member states to work and receive social welfare anywhere within the EU, have led many citizens to call for immigration limits and quotas.

  • High level of “brain waste” among highly educated immigrants

    Many highly educated immigrants coming to the United States without a job lined up have been unable to find work at their level of education, leading to considerable “brain waste,” researchers have found. The prevalence of such “brain waste” exceeded 40 percent for immigrants with a bachelor’s degree, 50 percent for those with a doctoral or professional degree, and 75 percent for those with a master’s degree.

  • U.S. defense industry pushes for immigration reform

    CEO Linda Hudson of BAE Systemsis making a plea for immigration reform as she links the defense industry’s urgent need for skilled engineers to the push for the United States to develop a simpler path to citizenship for skilled and educated immigrants. She also says that “if we’re forced to forgo international talent we damn well ought to be doing something to produce that talent domestically.”

  • Shutdown shuts down E-Verify

    The law requires that businesses verify the work eligibility of new hires within three days of hiring. Staffing companies which place employees with companies do the verification before placing employees. E-Verify has been turned off as a result of the government shutdown, causing headaches for businesses, boosting their administrative costs, and possibly landing them in legal trouble.

  • Free-market solution to the immigration problem

    Supporters of a free-market approach to the immigration problem advance the “Red Card Solution,” a system to issue short-term unlimited guest worker visas. The system calls for private businesses to operate labor offices inside the United States and abroad, in which foreigners could apply for jobs. Hired applicants would be given a temporary red card to enter the United States and work with the security of legal worker status, and the understanding that they would leave the country upon completion of the job. Under the Red Card Solution, only applicants who have passed a criminal background check and secure legitimate employment would be granted worker status.

  • Business demand for temporary visas, green cards to rise in 2014

    In its newly released 2013 Annual Business Immigration Survey, the Global Immigration Benchmarking Council (GIBC) reports that business demand for temporary visas and green cards continues to rise. Thirty-four percent of companies anticipate hiring more H-1B visa holders in the year ahead, while 25 percent of companies anticipate hiring additional H-2A or H-2B workers.

  • GOP lawmakers boycott DHS nominee hearing

    Senate Republicans boycotted a hearing last Thursday to consider President Obama’s nominee for deputy DHS secretary. Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Tom Carper (D-Delaware) refused a request by GOP lawmakers for a delay in the hearing because of concerns about Alejandro Mayorkas, the current head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency. Mayorkas is under DHS IG investigation for authorizing an EB-5 investor visa to a Chinese businessman who was supposed to invest in a green-tech car company founded by Terry McAuliffe, the current Democratic candidate for the Virginia governorship, and represented by Anthony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother. The visa application had been twice denied by USCIS before Mayorkas’s intervention.

  • The tax contributions of undocumented immigrants to states and localities

    Opponents of immigration reform argue that undocumented immigrants would be a drain on federal, state, and local government resources if granted legal status under reform. It is also true, however, that the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States are already taxpayers, and that their local, state, and federal tax contributions would increase under reform.

  • HID Global selected as prime contractor for USCIS Green Card

    Irvine, California-based HID Global the other day announced the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has selected the company as the prime contractor for the USCIS Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as the Green Card.