This report summarizes conclusions drawn from discussions of stakeholders in the immigration debate convened by the Bipartisan Policy Center in 2021 and 2022. Stakeholders representing business, labor, and immigrant advocates were tasked with discussing possible reforms to the employment-based immigration system — both for high-skilled and lesser-skilled immigrants. There were many areas of agreement, including: the need for greater transparency and predictability in the immigration system; that there should be more opportunity to transition from temporary to permanent status; that more green cards should be made available, with more opportunity for lesser-skilled workers to apply for permanent status; that persons who have spent time in the U.S. and built up equity should be able to stay; and that visas should be more portable, so workers are not so tied to one employer once they are here. All groups suggested that the immigration system could be partially insulated from politics by relying on an independent commission to make recommendations based on needs of the labor market. The report also noted areas where there was less agreement among the stakeholders — including in the proper balance between the importance of worker protections vs. employer concerns with excessive regulation, and in the continued use and regulation of third-party recruitment. The report concluded by noting that any re-inventing of the immigration system will require continued education of members of Congress. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
Reforming Employment-based Immigration: Charting a Path Forward
Bipartisan Policy Center, July 2022, 11 pp.