The Importance of Immigration

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Immigration is the international movement of people to and from countries other than one’s own. While some public opinion surveys do not explicitly define their terms, many survey respondents understand the term to include migration that is either permanent or largely settled and that occurs within a country rather than across borders (Migration Observatory analysis of ONS LTIM). It also includes those who seek asylum or are otherwise considered refugees by the government of their host country, as well as those who are temporarily working or living in another country while seeking a permanent residency visa.

The definition of immigrants is crucial for understanding who they are, where they come from, and why they move. While dictionary definitions separate people who intend to settle in their new homes from those who simply move to take advantage of opportunities, in public debate and even some scholarly discourse, these distinctions are not always respected or clear. For instance, the UK government’s official estimates of migrants conflate those seeking asylum with economic migrants; and tabloid newspaper discussions often use the terms ‘migrant’ and ‘foreigner’ interchangeably to refer to groups not typically thought of as migrants.

Immigrants make important contributions to their host nations, boosting the economy and enriching culture in their new home. Their geographic mobility helps local economies respond to bottlenecks or shortages of workers, smoothing out bumps that would slow growth. They are disproportionately represented in professions where the demand for skills exceeds the supply, and they have contributed to such industries as high tech during the Internet boom and construction during the housing bubble of the 2000s.

At the same time, immigration can have costs. When it increases competition for jobs, wages can fall. But these negative impacts can be mitigated by policies that ensure that labor markets are fairly balanced, and that the benefits of immigration are shared with existing workers.

Immigrants have made a vital contribution to the United States, and it’s critical that we continue to welcome them into our nation.

The United States offers great career and personal opportunities for immigrants, whether in its vibrant cities or breathtaking national parks. In addition to a wealth of leisure options, America is home to the headquarters of many leading multinational corporations, and offers an exceptional quality of life for those who are willing to work hard and put in the effort.

If you’re interested in moving to the US, start by reaching out to friends or colleagues who already live here. Try to find someone who works for a company in your industry, and be sure to ask if they’d be open to interviewing you! Lastly, remember to avoid scam employment agencies that charge up-front fees and insist that they can get you a job in the US. These companies are almost certainly not legitimate. Good luck! Ivan Sigal is a policy analyst with the Center on Immigration and Demographics at the Urban Institute.