Press Releases

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Mar 17 2015

JOINT RELEASE – Hatch, Flake Promote 21st Century Workforce through I-Squared

Washington, D.C.— U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch, R-UT, and Jeff Flake, R-AZ, issued the following statements after underscoring the importance of passing the Immigration Innovation 'I-Squared' Act in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on high-skilled immigration.

Sen. Hatch said, “In our global innovation marketplace, America cannot afford to continue to lose the talent we educate and train to our competitors. While opponents may attempt to question the need for high-skilled immigration reform, the facts prove otherwise. Our I-Squared bill is essential to creating American jobs, fueling our economic recovery, advancing our 21st century workforce, and maintaining America’s position as the world’s brightest beacon of innovation.”

Sen. Flake said, “Today’s hearing reiterated what we already know: Our current immigration system is not meeting our needs. Along with other critical solutions, Congress needs to guarantee that our country remains a leader in innovation and global competition by ensuring access to the highly skilled talent U.S. companies need, a vibrant economy for homegrown and foreign entrepreneurs, and that U.S. universities continue to attract the best and the brightest from around the world.”

High-Skilled Immigration Facts

  • America, and American companies, need more high-skilled workers. This is an undeniable fact. America’s high-skilled worker shortage has become a crisis.
  • Last year American companies were unable to hire nearly 90,000 high-skilled workers they need to grow their businesses, develop innovative technologies, and compete with international competitors.
  • Supply-side economists have reported that a 10% growth in H-1B population would correspond to a 6%-12% growth in invention (measured as patents) among immigrant groups and a 0.5%-1% growth in patents by U.S. natives. [LINK]
  • As the conservative American Enterprise Institute has confirmed, each foreign-born worker with a STEM degree who remains in the United States creates an average of more than 2.5 additional American jobs. [LINK]
  • America will face a shortage of more than 220,000 workers with STEM degrees by 2018. [LINK]
  • Foreign-born STEM workers complement the American workforce, they don’t take American jobs. [LINK]
  • There is full employment for US STEM workers with advanced degrees: While the current national unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent, the unemployment rate for US citizens with PhDs in STEM is just 3.15 percent and 3.4 percent for those with master’s degrees in STEM. Given that the US government has defined “full-employment” to be 4 percent, this suggests a skills shortage of STEM professionals with advanced degrees.
  • In many STEM occupations, unemployment is virtually non-existent: While the current national unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent, the unemployment rate for US citizens with PhDs in STEM is just 3.15 percent and 3.4 percent for those with master’s degrees in STEM. Given that the US government has defined “full-employment” to be 4 percent, this suggests a skills shortage of STEM professionals with advanced degrees.
  • STEM fields employ a far higher proportion of foreign workers than non-STEM fields: In STEM fields, 26.1 percent of workers with PhDs are foreign born, as are 17.7 percent of workers with master’s degrees. In comparison, in non-STEM fields, just 6.4 percent of doctoral workers and 5.2 percent of master’s workers are foreign born.
  • STEM fields with high percentages of foreign STEM workers have low unemployment rates for US workers: Although nearly 25 percent of Medical Scientists are foreign born, US Medical Scientists enjoy an unemployment rate of just 3.4 percent, fully five percentage points lower than the non-STEM unemployment rate (8.4 percent). Similar stories exist for STEM occupations such as physical scientists and computer software designers, where immigrants make up more than 20 percent of the field and unemployment is just 4 percent. Unemployment across all STEM occupations is just 4.3 percent, and the unemployment rate is actually lower than that average in 10 of the 11 STEM occupations with the largest proportion of foreign workers.
  • Foreign-born STEM workers are paid on par with US STEM workers: There is no verifiable evidence that foreign-born STEM workers adversely affect the wages of American workers by providing a less expensive source of labor. The average STEM worker actually makes slightly more than his or her US counterpart, earning on average $61 more per week.