What Role Should Immigration and Immigrant Integration Fill in Addressing Labor Market Needs & Skills Gaps? New MPI Initiative Examines
WASHINGTON, DC — As demographic pressures, technological advances, economic shifts and pandemic disruptions rapidly reshape labor markets in the United States and globally, the resulting workforce shortages and skills gaps are sparking conversations about the role that immigration could serve in meeting future workforce needs.
The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) today formally launched a Global Skills and Talent Initiative to explore the role that immigration and immigrant integration can play in addressing current and future labor market needs; how immigration can support competitiveness in high-growth sectors; and the implications of remote work for immigration systems, among other key questions.
“Immigration policy decisions should be centered within a broader strategy on skills and talent that takes into account both economic and social considerations and brings together viewpoints from government, the private sector and civil society,” said MPI President Andrew Selee. “Too often, the immigration conversation is separated out from essential policy responses to address workforce needs and skills gaps. Immigration is one of several policy responses, alongside investment in the skills of existing workers and in productivity more broadly.”
The Global Skills and Talent Initiative will focus on employment-based immigration and the supports that can help already present immigrants apply their full range of educational and professional skills to the labor market. It will draw from MPI’s extensive research and insights on global selection systems, recruitment policies, credential recognition, immigrant integration, immigrant contributions to the economy and workforce development for first- and second-generation immigrants. The initiative is looking at skills and talent across a broad range of occupations, from agriculture and care work to advanced technology and higher education.
A policy brief issued today, What Role Can Immigration Play in Addressing Current and Future Labor Shortages?, examines current and potential approaches to factoring labor shortages into economic immigration policies and the trade-offs that governments must navigate. Along with another recent brief, Unblocking the U.S. Immigration System: Executive Actions to Facilitate the Migration of Needed Workers, these are the first research publications under this initiative. Other MPI resources on immigration and labor market issues can be found on a new Global Skills and Talent web presence launched today.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ur Jaddou; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Deputy Minister Christiane Fox; Michael Shotter, Director, Migration and Asylum Directorate, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission; and Patrick Hallinan, Minister Counsellor Home Affairs and Regional Director – Americas, Department of Home Affairs, Australia, joined an initiative launch webinar to discuss the role of immigration to address human capital needs and competitiveness.
The U.S. unemployment rate hit a 54-year low in January, with more than 10 million job vacancies each month dating back to mid-2021. Canada, which is facing critical labor market shortages, has set a target of admitting more than 1.4 million permanent residents through 2025. The German government wants to attract 400,000 workers from abroad yearly to address key labor shortages. And Australia is conducting a strategic review that is, among other questions, examining how to improve its migration processes to remain attractive to prospective migrants.
To read the policy brief issued today on labor shortages, visit: www.migrationpolicy.org/research/immigration-addressing-labor-shortages.
And for more on the Global Skills and Talent Initiative and research on point to its work, visit: www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/global-skills.