29 September 2011

Mayor Bloomberg proposes US immigration plan

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called on Congress to adopt his comprehensive US immigration reforms

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NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is calling on the US Congress to support his plan for immigration reform

Michael Bloomberg, independent Mayor of New York City and multi-billionaire former chairman of Bloomberg LP, has developed a four-pronged plan for comprehensive reform of the US immigration system aimed at boosting job numbers and economic growth.

Firstly, Mr Bloomberg is calling for an expansion of the skilled migration program. Speaking to a meeting of the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, the Mayor pointed to the fact that only 15% of US visas are granted for economic reasons - while migration and family reunification makes up 85% of US visa grants - and said this is "sabotaging the economy".

Secondly, Bloomberg's plan would allow foreign graduate of American technical degrees to gain work experience in the US. "There is no such thing as too many scientists and engineers," he said. "Let's offer them green cards after they graduate and convince them to stay".

The third plank of Bloomberg's plan is that foreign investment should be reformed to allow for foreign entrepreneurs to actually start businesses in the United States. This development would be "the solution to unemployment" as "these people will hire American workers," he said.

Finally, Bloomberg proposes eliminating the cap of US visas, even suggesting start-up capital and tax-breaks should be offered to attract foreign entrepreneurs. If US immigration policy is not conducive to attracting long-term skilled and talented migrants, "they'll return home to help our competitors," he said.

Bloomberg's plan has been embraced by the US Chamber of Commerce, with President and Chief Executive Thomas Donohue calling it a "big idea".  Senior Economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Pia Orrenius, has supported the economic theory underpinning the Bloomberg plan.

"When you introduce immigrants into the labor and economy you get more efficiencies, which means more output with fewer resources," she said.

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