More than 50 deans of U.S. business schools and 14 CEOs have signed a letter to President Donald Trump warning that this administration’s immigration policies are capping America’s economic growth and leaving a deficit of skills in key sectors, particularly STEM fields. The letter warns that “a combination of our outdated laws, artificial regional and skills-based caps on immigration and recent spikes in hostility are closing the doors to high-skilled immigrants our economy needs to thrive.”

Key points:

  • The letter cites 3 million STEM jobs that remain unfilled as an indication that the U.S. is not producing enough high-skilled workers to fill these jobs. The business leaders are “urgently concerned” that the deficit in skills will hinder economic growth.
  • According to the letter, the number of foreign students studying at American universities and business schools has declined the past three years, for the first time since the Graduate Management Admission Council began tracking these statistics. The letter also cites the hundreds of thousands of high-skilled immigrants who are turned away for no other reason than that they are unable to secure an H-1B visa.
  • The letter proposes several policy recommendations, including removal of the 7% per-country cap on green cards, modernizing visa processing, reforming the H-1B visa program, and creating a “heartland” visa to encourage immigration to the regions of the U.S. that most need high-skilled talent.

BAL Analysis: The letter calls the current skills deficit a “crisis” and the reduction in international students and turning away of thousands of prospective H-1B candidates every year a “dangerous negative trend” for the U.S. economy, but suggests the trend could be reversed with key policy changes that remove some of the limitations on high-skilled immigrants and ease barriers to employment of international students after graduating from U.S. schools.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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