Perhaps the toughest challenge faced by developed and developing countries alike is the governance of international labor migration. Some countries have developed useful mechanisms that foster economic growth and migrant integration into host societies. But in the United States, a well-informed, high level debate about how to improve employment-based migration management is conspicuously absent from the public discourse. Discussion in the media and debates in Congress typically focus narrowly on the concerns of employers who argue, for example, in favor of raising the numerical limits on two or three temporary visa categories, or those pushing for increased enforcement measures for irregular migrants.
The Economic Policy Institute’s new book, Value-Added Immigration: Lessons for the United States from Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, uses a comparative methodology to help fill this gap in the policy debate on labor migration in the United States. Authored by Ray Marshall, the U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Carter, it suggests how the United States could improve its own system based upon the best practices found in Australia, Canada, and the U.K. These three countries – while far from perfect – have evolved and adapted their migration governance to further a value-added strategy, i.e., one that seeks to improve productivity and innovation and fill labor shortages. They also do a better job of protecting the labor rights of foreign and native workers.