Policy Papers

The Budgetary Effects of High-Skilled Immigration Reform


Most economists believe that admitting more highly skilled workers from other countries is beneficial to the U.S. economy. This is particularly true of workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Immigration also has positive effects on the federal budget. Highly skilled workers pay more in taxes than less skilled workers and they are not likely to receive federal benefits, particularly in the near term. This paper examines those fiscal effects to help inform the immigration policy debate. The estimates are not precise. They rely on very simple assumptions that are consistent with the economics literature and indicate the magnitudes involved.