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Highly Skilled Immigration On The Rise In The US

13 Jun 2011


A new study released by the Brookings Institute finds that highly skilled migrants in the United States have started to outnumber lower skilled immigrants.

According to the report, The Geography of Immigrant Skills: Educational Profiles of Metropolitan Areas, one in seven US residents are immigrants, and constitute about one in six workers.

"The share of working-age immigrants in the United States who have a bachelor's degree has risen considerably since 1980, and now exceeds the share without a high school diploma," the report said.

In 1980, only 19 percent of immigrants aged 25 to 64 held a bachelor's degree. Nearly 40 percent had not finished high school. As of 2010, 30 percent of working-age immigrants have a college degree and only 28 percent lack a high school diploma.

In an interview with American Public Media, Audrey Singer, author of the report, said that the rise in highly skilled immigration to the US has taken place over the last five years.

Singer stated that the US has "a changing mix of needs in this country in terms of our industries and the restructuring of the U.S. economy."

"But we also have large flows of international students coming in -- some of whom stay. We have temporary worker programs like the H1B that also bring in highly skilled immigrants," she added.

She said that if the US can take advantage of the higher influx of foreign talent, it will give a boost to the American economy, which is still recovering from the global financial crisis of a few years ago.

However, she said that many highly skilled immigrants were over-qualified for their current occupation and said it was up to America to support immigrants, whether highly skilled or not.


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