Labor Immigration in the USA: History, Visas and Compensation

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The history (starting after WWII) and current status of immigration in the US; legal and illegal

The question of immigration is one of the most discussible and vital problems in the USA. More than two hundred years ago, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA, Benjamin Franklin, was anxious that a large number of immigrants could have a negative effect on the Anglo-Saxon culture of the country.

Every new generation of immigrants faced different challenges connected with the prejudices of the native population towards them. At the beginning of the XX century, there was the prevailing opinion that the Poles, the Russians, the Italians, and the Jews were very different from the local inhabitants. It was held that their culture and traditions had nothing in common with the customs of the Americans, and in such a way, they had slim possibilities to become a part of the American nation.

Nowadays, the attitude towards immigrants from Asia and Latin America is practically the same. In the age of economic difficulties, the local inhabitants consider that immigrants as invaders who steal their jobs, or even as would-be criminals and terrorists.

After World War II, the number of immigrants significantly increased. Only during the last decade of the twentieth century, more than 14 million immigrants arrived in the USA.

One of the most important laws that were a basis for the existing immigration system of the USA was the Immigration and Nationality Act adopted in 1965. In this act, there was elaborated the quota system, in accordance with which the numerical limits on immigration increased from 154000 to 290000. Moreover, there were established more strict demands for immigrants and the rules according to which an immigrant may be deported from the country. Before 1965, the majority of immigrants were from Europe. Since 1965, they are mainly the representatives of Latin America and Africa.

In 1980 there was adopted the Refugee Act, which established the rules of the resettlement of refugees. In 1990 there was organized a special committee, the aim of which was to analyze the influence of immigration on the social and economic development of the country and the effectiveness of the existing immigration laws. In 1994, Bill Clinton endorsed the law according to which those foreigners who arrive in the USA without documents may be deported immediately apart from the cases when they seek for political asylum.

A description of work permits and visas available and types of occupations they are intended to fill a need. Type of industry sectors that are the beneficiaries and why it is important to our economy to offer them

As a rule, immigrants are involved in the occupations in which the local inhabitants refuse to work, either because of the low wages of these jobs or because of the lack of professionalism. As distinct from the local population, immigrants are content with lesser salaries. This fact gives domestic producers the opportunity to cheapen the production, which is necessary for the successful competition.

Basically, immigrants are involved in the spheres of industrial production, trade, building, service, and entertainment industry. For a range of reasons, the role of immigrants is especially important in the sphere of engineering, medicine, and informational technologies. For instance, before 1960, American medical colleges were unable to teach the necessary number of specialists. For this reason, the American authorities gave special immigration privileges to medical advisers and nurses from Korea for them to work in the USA. In some cases, the government even covered travel expenses. There exists an opinion that if all the immigrants leave Silicon Valley, this known world center of high tech corporations will slip out of existence.

The existing immigration system is elaborated in accordance with the active immigration law. Due to this system, the citizens of the USA and the lawful permanent residents have an opportunity to reunite with their relatives. Moreover, American employers have the possibility to engage highly skilled foreign specialists and in such a way to facilitate the economic development of the USA. Now there are several types of visas granted to immigrants. It may be distinguished between immigrant visas, which are granted to legal permanent residents, and nonimmigrant visas that are designed for those people who are admitted to the country for a limited period of time (“Directory of Visa Categories” par.2).

There exist more than 20 different types of nonimmigrant visas. Some of them may be used for job placement. Nonimmigrants, who are permitted to work in the USA, are sponsored by an American employer, and they are obliged to work for him. In some cases, they are permitted to work on some distinct projects. The number of such visas is confined in accordance with the annual limit. For instance, they are such categories as temporary agricultural workers or those occupations that require highly specialized professional skills.

At the same time, there are five basic types of immigrant visas for business purposes. A person who receives such a visa obtains confirmation of a permanent residence in the form of the green card. As a rule, such visas are granted on the basis of a petition of an American employer. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that the American legislative system protects local workers. The majority of employment visa applications should be approved by the US Department of labor. This approval means that among the citizens of the USA, there are no such workers who meet the requirement of this vacancy, or simply they do not want to occupy it.

Impact of workers with a work visa (are authorized to work in the US), from a compensation perspective

In general, those immigrants who have work visas and who are authorized to work in the USA positively influence the development of the American economy as well as the incomes of the native inhabitants.

There is a common opinion in society that the influx of immigrants has a negative effect from the point of view of compensation. The main argument of the advocates of this statement is that immigrants agree to work for a salary that does not satisfy native workers. In such a way, in order to be competitive in the labor market, native workers have either to work for an undesired salary or to be unemployed (Davidson 7).

Nevertheless, the economic researchers in this sphere suggest that immigrants with working visas do not have a critical effect on the salaries of the native workers. The main reason for this is that “legal immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs; instead, many immigrants complement the work of US employees and increase their productivity” (Looney and Greenstone par.4).

The whole influx of immigrants may be subdivided into two major parts. The small part of it is the highly skilled professionals who are involved in those branches where the specific knowledge is required, such as medicine or high technologies. As a rule, the demand for such professionals is rather high. Moreover, they cannot be replaced with the local workers just because of the fact that the native skilled professionals are already employed. The next part of this flux is the immigrants who are involved in jobs that are considered to be low-paid by American standards, and the local workers refuse from it.

Impact of workers who are not authorized to work in the US, on compensation

In general, the same tendency is observed in the case with illegal immigrants who are not authorized to work. At the same time, several groups of workers, such as high-school dropouts or low-wage workers, suffer because of the competition from immigrants. The trouble is “immigrants are seen as better workers by some employers, especially in comparison to native-born African Americans.” (Camarota 5). The brightest example of it is the case published by Associated Press when an Alabama farmer has not managed to replace immigrant workers by native Americans (“Alabama farmer was unable to replace workers on Americans”par.1). Immigrants in this particular case showed better workforce productivity, while locals were eager to quit after the first day of the job.

A personal opinion on if immigration is a positive or negative and why but based on thoughtful opinions based on the research and economic conditions, present and future

In general, the USA gets a significant economic benefit from immigrants. These immigrants, both legal and illegal, are involved in those occupations, which are neglected by the local workers. The prevailing professions of immigrants are those, which imply low wages and heavy work.

At the same time, it should be mentioned that immigration has a small impact on the wages of the local workers. The major part of natives who suffer from immigration is low educated people. The use of low-cost labor gives native producers an opportunity to increase the efficiency of enterprises and in such a way to be competitive in the world market.

It has been calculated that “immigration reduces the wages of natives in competition with immigrants by an estimated $402 billion a year while increasing profits or the incomes of users of immigrants by an estimated $437 billion” (Camarota, par.7).

Therefore, it is possible to conclude that, in general, the economic effect of immigration on a nationwide scale is positive.

Works Cited

Alabama farmer was unable to replace workers on Americans. 2011. Web.

Camarota, Steven, The Impact of Immigration On American Workers. 2003. Web.

Davidson, Adam, Q&A: Illegal Immigrants and the U.S. Economy. 2006. Web.

“Directory of Visa Categories.” U.S. Visas. Department of State. Bureau of Consular Affairs. n.d. Web.

Looney, Adam, and Michael Greenstone, What Immigration Means For U.S. Employment and Wages. 2012. Web.

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