Unintended Incentives in Immigration Reform
Posted at 8:45 a.m. on Jan. 29
As lawmakers appear ready to move forward with a comprehensive immigration reform effort, Matthew Yglesias warns that safeguards will be necessary to prevent companies and schools from abusing certain programs, such as a provision offering permanent residency or visas to those who receive a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).
“What it does, in essence, is create a huge incentive for foreign-born college graduates to apply to master’s programs in STEM fields. Or looked at the other way, it gives accredited American universities a license to print money by launching foreigner-friendly master’s programs in STEM fields… there’s absolutely no need for them to engage in any useful educating whatsoever for the value proposition to be enormous.”
Marc Ambinder doesn’t think this is a problem: “companies will probably be provided with incentives to hire U.S.-born workers who they’ve trained, with money coming from the payment for the visas themselves. STEM visas often create jobs for U.S.-born citizens.”