George Magnus – “immigration reform will boost US growth”

The emerging consensus among economists is that immigration provides a net benefit to a state’s economy. It increases demand and productivity, helps drive innovation and lowers prices, although there is little agreement on the size of the impact on economic growth. If this is the case, then the US economy could get a lift if President Barack Obama succeeds in enacting what could be the biggest overhaul of the nation’s immigration system since the 1980s. By helping more immigrants enter the country legally and allowing many illegal immigrants to remain, the United States could help offset a slowing birth rate and put itself in a stronger demographic position than ageing Europe, Japan and China. “Numerous industries in the United States can’t find the workers they need right now, even in a bad economy, to fill their orders and expand their production as the market demands,” said George Magnus, Senior Economic Adviser for UBS and author of the international bestseller ‘The Age of Ageing’, “boosting legal migration and legalizing existing workers could add $1.5 trillion to the US economy over the next 10 years”. 

A recent study commissioned by UBS found that harsher regulations on US immigration in many states adversely affected production, increased financial burdens on business and even negatively impacted already struggling real estate markets. “Relaxed immigration rules could encourage entrepreneurship, increase demand for housing, raise tax revenues and help reduce the budget deficit,” George continued. “Immigration would need to double to keep the working-age population stable at its current 67% of total population. A change of that magnitude may prove politically sensitive, but the focus should be on attracting highly skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants. Canada and Australia do so by operating a points system for immigrants rather than focusing on family connections, and this is something the US needs to emulate.”
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